clearn.png
Thursday October 6th, 2022 1:23AM

Hard-left leader sees win in French vote, himself as new PM

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PARIS (AP) — Leftist parties that had nearly disappeared from the French political landscape have grown wings in the runup to Sunday’s legislative elections and now threaten to weaken President Emmanuel Macron and his hopes of slam-dunking his agenda through parliament.

An alliance of leftist parties cobbled together by hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon is now soaring in polls. The campaign poster “Melenchon Prime Minister” no longer draws chuckles from opponents.

Commentators have yet to agree on how to pronounce Nupes, the French acronym for the alliance, the New Popular Ecological and Social Union. Melenchon simply calls it the Popular Union. It combines his party, La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), Socialists, Communists and Greens.

“It is amazing, so inspiring and motivating. All of the left wing is in line behind Melenchon,” said Michael Gorre, a 45-year-old computer scientist attending a Paris rally last week by the coalition. “It feels good to have someone who talks about concrete things.”

Macron, a centrist, has made clear that it is he alone who names the prime minister, although in practice his choice is governed by the outcome of the election, which will not be clear until the second round on June 19. So if Nupes won a majority, he would likely pick someone from the coalition, but it might not be Melenchon.

Macron won a second mandate in April's presidential elections and is now looking for an absolute majority — 289 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower house — to swiftly pass legislation. Among laws on his radar is his controversial decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Melenchon, meanwhile, wants to lower it to 60.

The audacious bid by the 70-year-old Melenchon to be named head of government is symptomatic of France’s shattered political landscape. Traditional mainstream parties like the Socialists and the conservative right The Republicans slid off voters’ radar following losses in previous elections. Three blocs emerged: Melenchon’s hard left, Marine Le Pen’s far right and the centrists of Macron, who warn against “the extremes.”

Melenchon’s alliance is jockeying for the lead with Macron's centrists in polls. Nupes was on top in one poll this week, although within the margin of error. Le Pen, who lost to Macron in the presidential runoff, was third.

Le Pen is keenly aware that her anti-immigration National Rally party cannot compete with Melenchon’s alliance under the current voting system.

In calls to get out the vote, Le Pen asks supporters to help her party get as many deputies as possible in “last chance elections” to block the French president’s highway to unshackled power.

Unlike Melenchon’s bid for the job of prime minister, Le Pen’s more modest goal is to form a parliamentary group to gain more speaking time and other benefits. That requires a minimum of 15 lawmakers. Her party won only eight seats in 2017 voting.

“Jean-Luc Melenchon will never be prime minister. He is lying to the French ... a few days before his retirement,” Le Pen tweeted mockingly during a campaign trip Thursday to the southern beach town of Agde. She was referring to his decision not to try to renew his parliamentary seat, while she campaigns to keep hers.

Melenchon, a wily politician with an oratorical gift, has long been a figure on the French left, first in the Socialist Party and as senator. But it was only in 2016, when he founded the hard-left France Unbowed party that his profile matched his ambitions.

Melenchon’s appeal for social justice is among the draws for numerous voters, like Christelle Baker, 32, who sees his alliance as a helpline for her autistic brother.

“Nupes stands for social justice and ... themes like the health system, the environment, education, or the the situation of the disabled,” Baker said at the Paris rally in a packed theater. “We may not win but we can have a large parliamentary group. We can have our word to say.”

Melenchon’s alliance would raise minimum wages along with salaries in a plethora of sectors, and nationalize airports and highways. He slams “neoliberalism and the financialized economy.”

“Foreign commentators,” he said at last week’s Paris event, “If you want to know what France is, it is this: Liberty, equality, fraternity, and social welfare.”

For Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, Melenchon is the “Gallic Chavez.” That reference to one-time Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, known for his socialist revolution, has stuck on the man who seems to relish controversy.

Melenchon triggered his latest uproar by tweeting last weekend that “police kill,” after the death of a female passenger in a car that police on bicycles fired on when it refused to stop for a check.

Macron's view of Melenchon is that his views are extreme. “Nothing could be more dangerous than to add to world disorder the French disorder proposed by the extremes,” he was quoted in the French press as saying during a visit Thursday to the Tarn region.

A day earlier, a crowd of jubilant children surrounded the president, one jumping into his arms, during a visit to the impoverished Seine-Saint-Denis region outside Paris. One young girl asked where Melenchon was, saying, “I want Melenchon to win.”

The president told her that Melenchon wasn't there, then added, “I don’t want him to win, you see, in the legislatives. Otherwise, I can’t do things.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Uvalde school where shooting happened has deep roots in city
As the small Texas city of Uvalde struggles to heal after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school, thoughts have also turned to making sure the school’s legacy as the place that was at the heart of a fight for the equal education of Mexican Americans over half a century ago is carried on
6:33AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Wreck of 17th-century royal warship found off UK coast
Explorers and historians are telling the world about the discovery of the wreck of a royal warship that sank in 1682 while carrying a future king of England, Ireland and Scotland
6:32AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Biden visiting LA port as high inflation persists as threat
President Joe Biden is set to speak at America’s busiest port with high inflation persisting
6:31AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Biden visiting LA port as high prices persist as threat
President Joe Biden is set to speak at America’s busiest port without having vanquished high inflation
5:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
Capitol officer recounts Jan. 6 'war scene' in her testimony
The first public hearing by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection included raw testimony from Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards
5:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
Capitol officer recounts 'war scene' of Jan. 6 in testimony
The first public hearing by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection included raw testimony from Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards
12:45AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Ryan Zinke wins GOP nod in race for new Montana House seat
Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has won an unexpectedly tight race to become the Republican nominee in the race for a new U.S. House seat representing western Montana
8:08PM ( 10 hours ago )
Capitol riot hearing: US democracy 'at risk,' says chairman
The chairman of the House committee investigating the Jan_ 6 insurrection at the U_S_ Capitol has opened a prime-time hearing, declaring the attack put America's “constitutional democracy at risk.”
8:03PM ( 10 hours ago )
Capitol riot put US democracy 'at risk,' says 1/6 chairman
The chairman of the House committee investigating the Jan_ 6 insurrection at the U_S_ Capitol is saying it put America's “constitutional democracy at risk.”
7:13PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Justices allow counting of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania
The Supreme Court is allowing elections officials to count mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania that lack a handwritten date but were received in time
3:53PM ( 14 hours ago )
Blatter, Platini reiterate innocence in testimony to court
Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have strongly reiterated their innocence as the two former soccer leaders were questioned on day two of their criminal trial on charges of defrauding FIFA
2:53PM ( 15 hours ago )
Turkey's Erdogan says he will run for reelection next year
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed that he plans to stand for reelection next year
10:54AM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Elections
Lagos ex-governor wins Nigerian ruling party's nomination
A former governor of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, has been nominated to be the ruling party’s presidential candidate in next year’s presidential election
1:59PM ( 1 day ago )
Capitol attack's full story: Jan. 6 panel's chilling details
The Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol played out for the world to see
12:17PM ( 1 day ago )
Jan. 6 committee's members are on diverging political paths
The nine members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection find themselves on diverging political paths as each prepares for a defining moment in their careers as the series of public hearings begins
10:23AM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
UK plans to burn billions in wasted pandemic protective gear
The British government plans to burn billions of dollars in unusable protective equipment purchased during the coronavirus pandemic
5:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
China calls COVID 'lab leak' theory a lie after WHO report
China has attacked the theory that the coronavirus pandemic may have originated as a leak from a Chinese laboratory as a politically motivated lie
4:57AM ( 1 hour ago )
Ukraine fears a long war might cause West to lose interest
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds into its fourth month, officials in Kyiv have expressed fears that the specter of “war fatigue” could erode the West’s resolve to help the country push back Moscow’s aggression
4:39AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
Uvalde school where shooting happened has deep roots in city
As the small Texas city of Uvalde struggles to heal after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school, thoughts have also turned to making sure the school’s legacy as the place that was at the heart of a fight for the equal education of Mexican Americans over half a century ago is carried on
6:33AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Wreck of 17th-century royal warship found off UK coast
Explorers and historians are telling the world about the discovery of the wreck of a royal warship that sank in 1682 while carrying a future king of England, Ireland and Scotland
6:32AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Biden visiting LA port as high inflation persists as threat
President Joe Biden is set to speak at America’s busiest port with high inflation persisting
6:31AM ( 19 minutes ago )
China calls COVID 'lab leak' theory a lie after WHO report
China has attacked the theory that the coronavirus pandemic may have originated as a leak from a Chinese laboratory as a politically motivated lie
6:17AM ( 33 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: A look at far-right extremists in Jan. 6 riot
The first public hearing of the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack put a spotlight on two far-right extremist groups whose members are accused of plotting for weeks to stop the peaceful transfer of power
6:16AM ( 34 minutes ago )