Top News

Forget the presidency, I can lead France as its prime minister, insists his Mélenchon | France

Whoever wins the presidential election in France, one man is determined to put him on the sidelines and limit his powers.

Even before the result is known tomorrow, radical left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who proved to be a surprise king, called on voters to make him prime minister in the June parliamentary elections.

Mélenchon, an ardent opponent of both Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, promised that if successful, he would force anyone who obtained the keys to Elysee Square into an uncomfortable “coexistence” tomorrow, which would hamper their efforts to approve the reforms the opposition left.

The 70-year-old leader of the La France Insoumise (LFI), who promised to retire after his third presidential candidacy, said the election would be a “third round” if he gave him a majority in the Assemblée Nationale. It would also solve the dilemma of those voters – especially left-wingers – who, fourteen days ago, felt politically orphaned by the outcome of the first round. Many of the 7.7 million people who voted for Mélenchon said they would abstain tomorrow.

Last week, as Macron, 44, and Le Pen, 53, passed through France in an effort to attract nearly 50% of voters who preferred another candidate, the LFI was engaged in frantic negotiations with environmentalists and communists to form a united bloc to oppose potential winner. . Polls released Friday suggest Macron is still a favorite, but the legitimacy of his second term will be called into question if he does not secure a convincing victory.

Legislative voting has traditionally taken place on the party line, but Mélenchon is determined to make it personal. “I ask the French to elect me Prime Minister.” I ask them to elect a majority of Members from La France Insoumise. And I call on all those who want to join the People’s Union [of the left] join us in this beautiful fight. “

He reminded voters that the government decree was signed by the prime minister, not the president. “I would not be the prime minister at the mercy of M. Macron or Mrs. Le Pen, but because the French wanted to,” he said, adding that it would make the president “secondary.” He ruled out any negotiations with the new president.

“If it doesn’t suit the president, then they can go because I don’t,” he told BFMTV.

Mélenchon’s ambitions were strengthened after he won only 421,308 votes for Le Pen in the first round on April 10, which meant the collapse of the traditional left and right parties. The other three left-wing candidates – from the Ecology, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party (PS) – won a total of just over 3 million votes. This would secure him a place in the second round if they supported his campaign.

The result angered many of Mélenchon’s supporters, especially young people and workers, leading to protests at Parisian universities, including the Sorbonne and Sciences Po, although 41% of 18-25 – more than 4 million voters – abstained. bike.

The 577-seat campaign in the French lower house will begin on May 10. Macron’s centrist La Republique en Marche (LREM) currently has 263 seats, the conservative opposition Les Républicains 93; centrist MoDem, 52; PS, 25 and La France Insoumise only 17.

Campaign posters on display in Henin-Beaumont, Pas-de-Calais. Photo: Yves Herman / Reuters

Mélenchon insisted that his Union Populaire leads in 105 constituencies and that most of the 290 are “possible.” “If I do not fight for this victory, what will I do: say ‘go ahead, give them all the power’? I don’t want Mme Le Pen to win the country, and I don’t want M. Macron to retain power. I’m saying it’s the third round. It is up to the French to decide who is the head of government, “he said in an interview last week.

Mélenchon would need the support of all French left-wing voters, of whom around 11.8 million voted in the first round, if he had any chance of a majority in parliament after the June 12 and June 19 elections. Mélenchon rejected the proposals for any alliance with the PS.

Manon Aubry, a member of the European Parliament for the LFI, spent last week negotiating with left-wing parties to form an alliance for parliamentary elections. “There are obstacles, but there is a common desire to create a union around the program,” Aubry told the Observatory.

Asked about the PS, she added that the party would have to abandon its “neoliberal stance.” “We have placed a number of conditions on the table and the ball is on their side. The question is, are they ready to come to us?

Antoine Bristielle, political analyst and director of the Opinion Observatory at the left-leaning Jean Jaurès Foundation, said Mélenchon had made a masterful political move and learned from 2017, when he failed to unite the left after the presidential vote.

“After 2017, he failed to maintain high support for the next election and wants to do it differently this time,” Bristielle said.

“He was trying to strengthen his basic support and realized that the way to achieve that is from a position of strength.”

“It is not a question of how many deputies he will receive, but whether he can get ecologists and communists behind him before the parliamentary elections and thus create political power. I honestly don’t think PS wants to join him; he believes that the party does not represent much now and will die alone, so entry into it would be negative rather than positive. “

Laurent Joffrin, a former director of Libération, said the LFI’s partners were expected to “submit” rather than be allies and to sign up to Mélenchon’s policy, including withdrawal from Europe.

“These positions are not the positions of the voters of the non-Melonenchonist left and even fewer of the voters of the more centrist electorate.

“This is an eternal problem of the radical left: it has a chance at power, but by no means does it want to pull together to achieve that,” Joffrin wrote.