You are here:   Features > Why France Is Revolting Against The Ancien Regime
Mélenchon can be described as the far-Left counterpart to Marine Le Pen. He shares almost entirely her binary, anti-elite, anti-globalisation, anti-lobbies, anti-European philosophy, except on the issue of immigration and multiculturalism, which he accepts as a natural and positive development. Just like her, he supports a strong, autarkic government, and sees himself as a charismatic popular leader who is not supposed, ultimately, to be answerable to any other authority.

A main difference is that Marine Le Pen, while a sharp and forceful debater on some key issues, is much less convincing on many others, and burdened with an unseductive, almost masculine voice. Mélenchon, on the other hand, is an extremely eloquent and articulate tribune, a great orator with a deep voice and a devastating sense of humour, so much so that many listeners don’t pay full attention to the radical content of his words. He sounds like Churchill but thinks like Corbyn.

Benoît Hamon, 49, a former minister of education, is a non-rebel rebel. A member of the Socialist Party since the 1990s, he still shares many of its basic tenets, including a strong pro-European, pro-euro and pro-Nato stance. However, he has always aligned at the same time with the party’s left wing, against the more centrist and social-democratic programme advocated by President Hollande and the prime minister, Manuel Valls. He supports immigration, the religious and cultural rights of minorities, ecology, an universal basic income, and more state intervention in economic affairs within a comprehensive European Union framework. Until 2016, Hamon behaved like a Hollande loyalist and urged him to run as a presidential candidate in 2017. When the outgoing president declined, Hamon declared his own candidacy and handsomely won the socialist primaries last January with 58 per cent of the vote against 41 per cent for Valls. The main reason for his victory, and for Valls’s downfall, may have been the desertion of many socialist activists and supporters. While 2.8 million voters had been involved in the first socialist primaries in 2011, only two million turned up in 2017, a loss of almost one third. Hamon looks like a decent and sincere man, with strong democratic credentials. However, he lacks charisma, especially compared to Mélenchon.

François Fillon, 63, prime minister under Sarkozy from 2007 to 2012, was the surprise winner of the conservative primaries last November. He topped the first ballot with 44 per cent of the vote, against 28 per cent for Alain Juppé, a former prime minister and senior minister under Jacques Chirac and Sarkozy, and 20 per cent for Sarkozy. He then crushed Juppé on the second ballot by 66 per cent against 33 per cent. Since most pollsters and media had forecast a strong showing for Juppé, and 4.5 million voters had been involved, his victory was all the more impressive. One explanation was that Fillon was supposed to be a new man — something he owed to the fact that Sarkozy had haughtily relegated him during his five-year premiership to a subordinate role. A deeper explanation was that he was a rebel within the conservative camp: he ran a much more right-wing campaign that his rivals and was supported, in particular, by extensive conservative Catholic networks. Finally, a lot of personal factors were involved. Fillon was an attractive, elegant man — looking much younger than his actual age — with a deep, sober voice, command of facts and figures, and a lot of self-control. He was also supposed to be honest and ethical. All in all, it was a foregone conclusion by the beginning of 2017 that he would come out first in the presidential first ballot and win handsomely on the second ballot.

View Full Article
April 15th, 2017
2:04 AM
Open primaries followed by runoff elections between the top two vote-getters is pretty common in the USA. It does work.

Empress Trudy
April 14th, 2017
1:04 PM
There is pretty obviously no more political space within which Jews can navigate in France anymore. Just as they started flocking to Le Pen she let slip the mask that the new FN is little different than the old one. The socialists don't want them, the Muslims want them dead, and everyone else on the spectrum is playing for time until the whole country implodes.

Post your comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.