The leader of the left who made a surprise in the elections in France: Who is Jean-Luc Mélenchon?

The left alliance "Nouveau Front Populaire" - NFP won the second round of the French elections on Sunday. So who is Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the head of the NFP?

By Stephen McWright Published on 8 Temmuz 2024 : 12:51.
The leader of the left who made a surprise in the elections in France: Who is Jean-Luc Mélenchon?

Mélenchon is a politician who has long been on the left, first in the Socialist Party and as a senator. He founded the hard-left France Unbowed party in 2016, but could not participate in the presidential elections in 2017 and 2022.

He later united his party with the Socialists, Communists, and Greens to form the New Ecological and Social People's Union (NUPES). Mélenchon is a divisive figure who angers many moderates. The alliance fell apart due to divisions over the Hamas-Israeli war.

The Unyielding France party condemned Israel's war against Hamas and accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians. Last month, Mélenchon's party joined a similar alliance that quickly came together for early elections in case the far-right comes to power. The alliance was luckier this time and won the largest number of seats.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (born 19 August 1951) is a French far-left politician who was a member of the National Assembly for the 4th constituency of Bouches-du-Rhône from 2017 to 2022. He led the La France Insoumise group in the National Assembly from 2017 to 2021. Mélenchon has run for president of France three times; in 2012, 2017, and 2022. In 2022, he came within 1.2 percentage points of reaching the second round in France's two-round voting system.

Mélenchon also said before the election that they would recognize Palestine as a state.

Who is Jean-Luc Mélenchon?

He was born in Tangier on 19 August 1951. His father, Georges, was a postmaster of Spanish descent, and his mother, Jeanine Bayona, was an elementary school teacher of Spanish and Sicilian descent. He grew up in Morocco until his family moved to France in 1962.

The French politician served in the Government of Lionel Jospin as Minister of Vocational Training from 2000 to 2002. Mélenchon was also the representative of the Essonne département of the French Senate until 2010.

He left the Socialist Party in November 2008, founding the Left Party with MP Marc Dolez. He joined the Left Front before being elected as leader of the left party in the 2009 European elections and as the main candidate of the coalition in the South-West region. He won these elections with 8.15 percent of the votes and was elected to the European Parliament.

Mélenchon participated in the 2022 French presidential election as a presidential candidate. Although they increased their votes by more than 2% compared to the previous election, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen came third with 21.95% of the votes and could not advance to the second round.