When, in 2008, Jean-Luc Mélenchon left the Socialist Party (PS), putting an end to a 30-year political career in this party, no one imagined that this ordinary senator would turn into an essential figure of the French left.
Like Syriza in Greece or Podemos in Spain, Mélenchon represents the radical left, but unlike the leaders of the two mentioned movements, the political career of this French leftist has started inside the Socialist Party.
The French politician has successfully passed through two major electoral challenges (presidential elections in 2012 and 2017), demonstrating that you do not need strong party support to gain the support and sympathy of the voters. Here are some interesting facts you need to know about Jean-Luc Mélenchon:
1. Born on August 19, 1951, in Tangier, Morocco.
2. His father was a postmaster, and his mother was a teacher.
3. He spent his childhood in Morocco until 1962, when his family decided to move to France.
4. Studies at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon. In this university, Jean-Luc Mélenchon earned a doctorate in philosophy.
5. Mélenchon holds an impressive collection of books: 12.000 volumes.
6. Teacher and journalist before entering politics.
7. The name of his only daughter is Maryline Camille.
II. Jean-Luc Mélenchon – political activity
8. He participated in the students’ protest movements in 1968 in Lons-le-Saunier.
9. A hard supporter of Francois Mitterand, Mélenchon founded a newspaper that supported the unification between the communists and socialists.
10. Senator of Essone between the years: 1986-2000 and 2004-2010.
11. Despite his opinions close to the Communist Party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon joined the Socialist Party in 1976.
12. Mélenchon has often opposed France’s participation in the Gulf War.
13. Minister of education during the socialist government led by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
14. Anti-European convinced, during the French referendum on the Constitution of Europe in 2005, Jean-Luc Mélenchon was one of the leaders of the NO camp, even campaigning against his own party.
16. After leaving the Socialist Party, he founded in 2008 his own left-wing movement called the Left Party (French: Parti de Gauche ). Mélenchon hoped that this party, ideologically placed on the left, would fill the void left by the French Communist Party and the Socialist Party that now leaned toward the center of the political spectrum.
17. Member of the European Parliament since 2009.
19. In the first round of the presidential elections, he received 11.10% of the votes and finished fourth, after Hollande, Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen.
20. In the second round of the presidential election, Mélenchon supported Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate.The main goal according to many of his speeches was: “We must strike at the Merkozy axis”. His support was decisive in preventing the re-election of Nicolas Sarkozy.
21. Even if he supported Hollande, that did not prevent him from becoming the most serious critics of the Socialist government. Mélenchon would later say about Hollande that he was “worse than Sarkozy”.
22. Founder of the left-wing and populist La France Insoumise Party.
23. During the presidential election, his nickname was “the last Communist dinosaur of France”
26. For those who do not know, the populist left-wing candidate in the 2017 presidential election in France is famous for using unconventional means to convince the voters. From holograms to video games, and social media.
27. During a rally in the city of Dijon, the use of the hologram allowed the French candidate to appear in 7 different locations at the same time.
28. During the presidential election in 2017, 27% of 18-24-year-olds voted for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Thus, the far left candidate to become the favorite figure of the young people.
30. Only 2% have separated the left candidate from entering the second round of elections.
31. After the results of the first round, Mélenchon refused to endorse a candidate in the second round between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
32. After the legislative elections of 2017, La France Insoumise gained 17 deputy seats in the National Assembly and Mélenchon has become the leader of the group.
33. Currently, Mélenchon is the biggest critic of President Macron. Tens of thousands of La France Insoumise sympathizers have come out on the street against Macron’s labor reform.
III. Jean-Luc Mélenchon – key promises during the Presidential Elections of 2017
34. Taxation and Budget
More progressive income tax merged with the CSG(general social contribution)
Real tax on financial transactions
Lower the corporate tax
Strengthen the ISF (solidarity tax on wealth)
Reduce VAT on basic necessities
Creation of 200.000 civil service posts, including 60.000 teachers and 10.000 police and gendarmes
Redemption of the public debt by the Central Bank
35. Jobs and unemployment
– Repeal the labor law
– Reduce working time to 32 hours
– Prohibit redundancies
– Minumum wage at 1.326 euros in 2017
– Extension and revaluation of unemployment benefits
36. Healthcare and social protection
– Retirement at age of 60 for workers with 40 years of contribution
– Revalorization of social minima, autonomy allowance for 18-25-year-olds
– Family allowances for the first child
– 100% reimbursement of prescribed care.
– Repatriation into the social security of complementary health
– Creation of a corps of medical officers assigned to the medical deserts
– Legalize cannabis
– Right to PMA (medically assisted procreation) for all women
– Refusal of GPA (Surrogacy)
– Legalization assisted suicide
– Abolition of prostitution
38. Diplomacy and defense
Negotiations with the EU on the European treaties: end of the independence of the Central Bank, abandonment of the European fiscal pact, devaluation of the euro against the dollar.
If the negotiations fail, “Plan B” will start: exit of the European treaties after referendum
Denunciation of CETA agreement between EU and Canada
– Compulsory citizen service, possibly military
– Withdrawal from NATO
– Universal Coalition under UN mandate against ISIS
39. 6th Republic
– Three steps: referendum on the principle of a constituent assembly, election, and work in this assembly, new referendum on the draft Constitution
– The main traits of the Sixth Republic: parliamentary regime, citizens’ initiative referendum, right to dismiss elected representatives, suppression of the Senate
– Proportional representation and recognition of the blank vote
– Blank criminal record required to be elected, ineligibility for life in case of corruption