Far-left candidate sees surge in polls in France election

World Today

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is shaking up the France election with a last-minute surge in the polls.

CGTN’s Kate Parkinson reports.

Far-left candidate sees surge in polls in France election

A few months ago it would have been laughable to suggest that firebrand hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon had a shot at the presidency. But it's no longer a joke.

Melenchon was once languishing in a distant fifth place in the polls. But he’s enjoyed a huge surge in support in recent weeks and is closing in on the frontrunners. He’s now in touching distance of the French presidency.

It’s a massive boost for the French left, which was heading for an all but certain defeat in the election.

The Socialist party of President Francois Hollande is in tatters. He’s leaving office as the most unpopular president in France’s modern history, having failed to tackle the country’s chronic problem with unemployment.

But while a swing to the right was expected, Melenchon’s meteoric rise shows many voters appear eager to listen to far-left political ideas.

“This is the new shape of the left period. And this is the new face of the left. Now the new face of the left is Melenchon. In fact, the pro-globalization left wing is disappearing and is getting replaced by alter-globalization left wing,” Thomas Guenol, a political analyst said.

Melenchon’s promise to take France out of NATO and renegotiate EU treaties is causing concern elsewhere in Europe.

But his pledge to tax the rich and protect worker’s right is proving popular here.