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Friday, May 27, 2022

This man wants to challenge Macron for office

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In the midst of tens of thousands of protesters, the smiling face of the turtle appears. His shirt is designed in pink, orange and purple, the colors of the leftist “Union Popular” movement. Slow but steady, the animal advances this March 20, on the path between the Place de la Bastille and the Place de la République in Paris. But his real goal is the presidential elections.

Left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has made the tortoise the symbol of his electoral campaign. “Trust a smart tortoise of choice like me,” he shouted to the crowd at a big performance in January. “It’s no use applying, you have to start on time.” With three weeks to go before the first round of the presidential election, what has long been considered impossible seems possible: a second round between incumbent Emmanuel Macron, who is far ahead in the polls, and the left-leaning Mélenchon.

On Sunday, Mélenchon and his team hosted the biggest campaign event of the entire election campaign in the French capital. According to the organizers, around 100,000 attended. Paris police did not provide any information on the number of participants and did not respond to a request.

Under bright sunshine, people seem to have gathered not only to campaign for their candidate, but also to show that the French left is still alive. Until now, the electoral campaign has been dominated by the right-wing and far-right political camp.

Election as a “social referendum”

A brass band, a French rap duo, a Latin American combo: lots of music is played throughout the march, the atmosphere is exuberant. The procession is led by Mélenchon himself and several politicians from his “France Insoumise” party. Later, during his speech, the candidate will explain the election as a “social referendum.” “Another world is necessary, and because it is necessary, we will make it possible.”

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