The far left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is well on the road to become the greatest revelation of the election. In a few weeks he has doubled his support, today it already amounts to 10-11 percent and it keeps growing. The dynamics of this increase resembles the one of 2007, when the centrist François Bayrou reached 19 percent of support, slightly less than Ségolène Royal.
During the Sunday’s rally on Place de la Bastille Mélenchon called on to “a civic uprising” against the authority of “ancien regime” (meaning Nicolas Sarkozy) and to proclamation of the VI Republic that would replace the V – the one eaten away by capitalism.
Mélenchon is an ex-activist of the Socialist Party (the Minister of Education in 2000-2002), who left the party in 2008 to set up the Left Party. Before the present election his faction allied with the Communist Party and some other smaller far left parties establishing the Left Front with Mélenchon as its candidate.
The rise of Mélenchon’s support puts pressure on the left wing of François Hollande’s camp and is the reason for more and more leftist rhetoric of the Socialist Party’s candidate. Hollande is in trouble also on the right wing – in recent days he has been surprisingly overtaken by Nicolas Sarkozy in polls before the first round (in the second round Hollande still wins by a substantial majority).
For Hollande the second round for now remains unthreatened but the rise of Mélenchon’s support shall force the SP candidate to make large concessions to win the support of the far left before the second round on May 6th. Similar situation may apply to the parliamentary elections scheduled for June.
Interestingly enough, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is not the most leftist of all candidates. On his left flank there are Nathalie Arthaud of the Workers’ Struggle and Philippe Poutou of the New Anticapitalist Party.
Translation: Alicja Bratkowska