Left-wing anti-EU candidate Mélenchon races ahead with seven days to go
The 65-year-old has raced ahead of his rivals on the left and is barrelling into the first round of the presidential election.
The leader of the “Rebellious France” movement has seen immense support from French youth, who are holding an ‘Easter Picnic’ today – the far-left event drew close to 40,000 people.
If elected, Mr Mélenchon has threatened to leave the Euro if France cannot change the EU’s austerity policies.
The presidential candidate also wants to raise the top rate of tax to 100% and reduce the powers of the “monarchial presidency”.
Luc, a 23-year-old student expressed his support for Mr Mélenchon after reading a campaign leaflet denouncing global finance.
He said: “I like what he says and the way he says it. He’s the only honest one among them.”
Mr Mélenchon has cheerfully dismissed the Establishment’s reaction to his surge in popularity with a burning wit that outclassed his rivals in recent television debates.
His charisma derives from his unscripted dialogue, his open scorn for elitism, and bizarrely, use of a 3D hologram that allows him to address rallies in as many as seven different places simultaneously.
Thousands turned out at a Mélenchon rally on Sunday
The first round of voting takes place next Sunday, with the two top contenders going through to a second-round knockout on May 7.
Until last week, it was assumed that this battle would be between the centrist reformer Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen of the Front National, who are tied on 22 per cent of the vote.
Mélenchon, however, has upset these calculations by coming from behind to take 20 per cent in the latest survey for the newspaper Le Monde., pushing him past the scandal-hit conservative, François Fillon, who is polling at about 19 per cent.
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If Mélenchon’s surge continues, he might even make it into the run-off, perhaps against Mrs Le Pen — leaving voters with an unprecedented choice between two anti-establishment candidates, one left-wing and one right-wing.