A Rising Star From The Left Could Change Everything In The French Election

Photo: AP/Jacques Brinon

There may be another obstacle to Socialist Francois Hollande becoming President of France, and this time.Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a fiery leftist with a vehemently anti-capitalist agenda (he plans to cap earnings at €360,000 ($480,000) and impose a 100% tax on anything more) has gained four percentage points in the polls. This puts him in third place, with 12-15% of the votes in round one of the presidential race, tied with Marine Le Pen.

Experts say his meteoric rise could threaten frontrunner Hollande — who still leads Sarkozy 28.5% to 27.5% in round one of voting — because Hollande will need the Left’s votes in a second round run-off against Sarkozy, the Guardian reports.

Mélenchon’s initial aim to overtake the far-right’s Le Pen, according to France Info, but his recent victories have led him to declare his intention “to overtake François Hollande”. This could hamper Hollande from scoring a clear victory in round one, making a run-off inevitable. People already seem to prefer the pugilistic anti-EU Mélenchon to the placid europhile Hollande.

Supporters of Hollande also fear that Mélenchon’s radical far-left “Humans First” manifesto, which talks about everything from workers’ rights and nationalizing banks to quitting the EU, has forced Hollande to swing further Left as well: he has promised a 75% tax on the rich if elected.

A more leftist Hollande could alienate the centrist voters, which would almost certainly hand Sarkozy a run-off victory, a scenario not lost on Le Pen, who has remarked: “Mélenchon started the campaign as Hollande’s broom wagon, today he’s Sarkozy’s best ally.”

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