On March 18 more than 120,000 people joined in the rally for a Sixth republic called by the Front de Gauche (FdG) in support of its presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The rally was held in the Place de la Bastille and marked the 141st anniversary of the Paris Commune.
The FdG is an electoral alliance that draws together the majority of the parties to the left of the Parti Socialiste (PS), whose candidate Francois Hallande is expected to win the presidence.
Leading into the March 18 protest, Mélenchon had been polling at 11%, however in the immediate wake he polled as high as 13%. Both massive election rally and high polls demonstrates that the FdG has established significant momentum that it may be able to carry into the National Assembly elections in June and increase the Front's representation.
The Nouveau Parti Anticapaliste (NPA), which is standing it's own presidential candidate Philippe Poutou, has argued that the growing success of Mélenchon will increasingly open up contradictions both within Mélenchon position and between the organisations that make up the FdG.
Mélenchon has repeatedly called for "citizen's revolutions" which he sees as being achieved through the elections. While such a call could be seen as an aspirational hope of winning government outright, it is important to note that Mélenchon has endorsed the course pursued by Die Linke in Germany, which has entered government with the social democrats at the local level. There is also strong expectation that Parti Communiste Francais, which is by far the largest component of the FdG, and hold more than 90% of the FdG's current seats in the National Assembly, will push to enter government with the PS should it win government. When the PCF entered PS governments in the early 1980s and between 1997 and 2002, the PCF ministers participated in significant liberalisation of the French economy.
Sunday, April 1, 2012