Elections in France: Mélenchon is running as the new leader of the left and prime minister | International

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The leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon asked the French on Tuesday to use the legislative elections next June as an electoral "third round" to give a majority to his formation and thus be able to be prime minister of whoever wins the presidency in the second round of elections. presidential this Sunday, either the centrist Emmanuel Macron or the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, of whom he would thus act as a counterweight. The head of Francia Insumisa, who again refused to explicitly ask for the vote for the current president, as other parties defeated in the first round have done, also called on the other left-wing formations to unite around his program to form an opposition strong in the National Assembly, in negotiations that have already begun, albeit with strong hesitation.

“I ask the French to elect me Prime Minister and I ask them to give the majority to the deputies rebellious and of the Popular Union”, Mélenchon said in reference to the name under which he ran for the presidential elections in the first round, in which he came third with 7.7 million votes, far ahead of the rest of the leftist parties. but behind Macron and Le Pen and, therefore, disqualified for the final round this Sunday.

In his first interview since the first round, on BFM TV, Mélenchon reiterated his call not to vote for Le Pen, but once again avoided explicitly asking for a vote for Macron on Sunday. “I don't want Le Pen to rule the country and I don't want Macron to stay in power either, and I have to resolve that contradiction. And I can only solve it in one way, by saying that there is a third round”, explained Mélenchon. But can you imagine yourself as prime minister answering to a Le Pen president? the interviewer asked him. “Vox populi, vox dei. whatever they decide [los franceses]I will do it”, replied the leader, and recalled that the Constitution stipulates that, although the president “negotiates and signs the treaties” and is the head of the armies, it is the prime minister “who conducts and directs the nation's policy ”.

To do this, however, Mélenchon would need a parliamentary majority in the National Assembly (577 seats) which, today, is very far. Although already in 2017 it managed to be the most voted left force, in the legislative ones, for which it refused to negotiate with other formations, it ended up having only 17 deputies, compared to 28 for the Socialists, despite the fact that its results in the presidential they were worse.

Despite various attempts, the leftist parties were never able to agree on a single candidacy for the presidential elections and they reached the first round more divided than ever and harshly reproaching each other. A situation that now makes it difficult to approach positions. The enormous distance that separates the Mélenchonists with their 21.9% of votes from the other leftist forces —Anne Hidalgo barely achieved 1.7% of the votes for the Socialist Party, the greens of Yannick Jadot were placed at 4, 6% and Fabien Roussel's communists at 2.28%—puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating, which has not prevented them from revolting at Mélenchon's demand that they accept his leadership and his program , with which environmentalists and socialists maintain strong discrepancies, especially in matters of foreign policy.

On Thursday, France Insumisa sent letters to ecologists and communists (but not to the socialists) proposing to open discussions to form a coalition for the legislative elections on June 12 and 19. Of course, under its conditions: the "shared common program" must be built "from the one that has achieved the most votes in the presidential elections", that is, the mélenchonista. The leftist forces would present themselves under the name of "Popular Union" and the constituencies would be distributed pro rata according to the results of the first round of the legislative elections. And both greens and communists must stop attacks on rebelliousadded the issuers of a letter that, in addition, explicitly left the Socialists out of the game, who held a national congress on Tuesday to analyze the situation after the electoral disaster of the first round.

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"It would be disrespectful to write to them because they have clearly said that they do not want to be with us," Mélenchon's spokesman, Alexis Corbière, justified the socialist exclusion, despite the fact that the first secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, assured this weekend in liberation that his hand "is outstretched" to France Insumisa. "It's time to get over the grudges that exist," she said.

But misgivings are not only between Socialists and Mélenchonists. The invitation to negotiate has not been received either as a carte blanche by environmentalists.

France Insumisa can achieve a parliamentary group "of the left opposition to resist but without real means of action", that is, without the strength to change things, "or it can really try to have weight, becoming the engine of a majority coalition capable of , together forming a majority in the Assembly. Separated, no one will make it”, responded the general secretary of the ecologists, Julien Bayou, to the rebellious invitation.

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