In a presidential campaign with more twists than a French braid, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s sudden play to become France’s third man — or better — is shaking up the race.
With ten days to go before April 23’s first round vote, the colourful, cultured and cantankerous far-leftist has the frontrunners on the defensive.
Suddenly, the grumpy far-leftist — a showman in a Chairman Mao jacket who openly admired late Venezuelan populist leader Hugo Chavez — holds the mantle of France’s most popular politician. In the course of a whirlwind month, the 65-year-old Mélenchon surged nine spots to number one in weekly glossy Paris Match’s opinion poll. A full 68 percent of those surveyed hold “favourable opinions” of the far-left candidate, the poll by the Ifop-Fiducial firm showed.
On some polls, Mélenchon has now bypassed embattled conservative François Fillon for third place in a presidential race that will see the top two advance to the …
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