03 April 2017

Pass the Popcorn

There has been a recent surge by the far left candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon, in the French campaign for President, which means that it is theoretically possible that you would have a runoff between him and right wing extremist Marine LePen.

If Melenchon makes it into the runoff, I think that we will see the main-stream parties going for the bigot, because he is more of a threat to the bankster's racket:
French left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon’s creeping gain in the polls is adding a new layer of risk to France’s election.

Although the possibility of a second round between Melenchon and the anti-immigration, anti-euro National Front’s Marine Le Pen -- candidates of the extreme left and extreme right -- is remote, his rise casts yet another shadow over what has been one of the most tumultuous and unpredictable election campaigns in recent French history.

Melenchon, who was a distant fifth in the polls until a couple of weeks ago, is now within touching distance of Francois Fillon, currently in third place. According to an Odoxa poll published by Le Point magazine Friday, Melenchon would get 16 percent of the vote in the first round on April 23, just shy of Republican candidate Fillon’s 17 percent. Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen remain the front runners, with 26 percent and 25 percent respectively.

“If Jean-Luc Melenchon’s momentum continues, one could have three or four favorites in a pocket handkerchief, within the margin of error of the polls,” said Yves-Marie Cann, political research director at polling firm Elabe. “And then there will be uncertainty.”

A potential battle of the two populists, coming after the Brexit vote in the U.K. and the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., would add to the turmoil in the markets. Although Melenchon, unlike Le Pen, hasn’t said he will take France out of the European Union, he remains hostile to Europe’s institutions and has said he wants to renegotiate treaties and reform the union.


The oldest of the main candidates, Melenchon, 65, is on his second run for president and has a loyal base attracted by his uncompromising positions against globalism and Western militarism. He was a member of the Socialist Party and even a government minister before quitting the party over what he saw as its pro-business policies.

In his campaign program, Melenchon says he’d put in place a 100 billion-euro ($107 billion) stimulus package to help tackle poverty, improve public services and protect the environment. He plans 173 billion euros of extra state expenses that he says will generate 190 billion euros of additional revenue, boost growth by more than 2 percentage points from 2018 and create more than 3 million jobs.

Among his populist measures are a plan to raise France’s minimum wage by 15 percent and lower retirement age to 60 years with full pension. He also plans to add 200,000 units of public housing a year. He expects his program to increase public debt as a share of gross domestic product to 95.8 percent, with a plan to reduce it to 87 percent in 2022.
It's a slim chance, but I think that his making the runoff would be a good thing, and not just because he has the best policies of any candidate.

By presenting French voters with two choices outside the general window of acceptability (though Melenchon would have been pretty mainstream circa 1980) it requires actual thought by the voter.

Hopefully, this might create an electorate that eschews the false dichotomies that are presented by the current powers that be.

The disastrous policies coming from Berlin and Brussels have always been sold as being the only alternative, disabusing both the ordinary folk and the PTB would be a very good thing.


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