As France gets set for the first round of its presidential election, the DiEM25 Coordinating Collective explains why it is compelled to back Jean-Luc Mélenchon despite his flaws[Lisez ce communiqué en français ici]
French voters will head to the polls this Sunday for the first round of the country’s presidential election, with no less than seven of the candidates representing various factions of the Left. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen maintain a firm hold on the political scene, just as they did five years ago. This election is a perfect example of the current state of the Left across Europe: fragmented and struggling to challenge both the Establishment and an emerging far-right.
In this bleak scenario, many progressives in France may feel dismayed enough not to support any candidate. But given that polls indicate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has a low yet significant chance of finishing ahead of Le Pen – defeating the far-right and providing a Left alternative to Macron in the runoff round – DiEM25’s Coordinating Collective feels compelled to offer its critical support for Mélenchon this Sunday.
There are many points in Mélenchon’s programme that go against what DiEM25 stands for, and he has done much to sow divisions on the Left and turn voters away from progressive politics – mistakes that hurt his own chances, as well as those of other candidates. But in such moments, we must be able to overcome our differences and unite against the Establishment and the far-right that feeds off of it.
Whatever the result of this election, the Left in France and in Europe cannot remain in its current state. Only through a renewed, progressive, forward-facing Left that can reignite people’s belief in our values and our ability to implement them through policies can we reinvigorate our chances of achieving real power. Building that alternative is what DiEM25 set out to do, and that work needs to be picked up again in France. In the coming weeks and months, as we assess the fallout of this election, our movement will get to work.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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