“Is Jean-Luc Mélenchon the new Jean-Marie Le Pen?”

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE – The remarks made by Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the attacks occurring before the presidential elections question the evolution of his speech. Today we find disturbing similarities with the rhetoric of Jean-Marie Le Pen, analyzes Christine Clerc.

Christine Clerc is a journalist, writer. Last published work: Farewell, France! Why de Gaulle left (Editions de l’Observatoire, 2019).


For twenty years, he hoped to become the new François Mitterrand. Admittedly, the Socialist President had not brought him into any of his governments. It is another daring young man, Bernard Tapie, not even registered with the PS, who seduced the monarch installed for 14 years at the Elysee. Much later, in 2000, Lionel Jospin, head of a government of cohabitation with Jacques Chirac, would appoint Jean-Luc Mélenchon Minister responsible for vocational education. However, he still believed he could hope for anything. “Walk, sir! Mitterrand had told him, whom he admired so much. Walk your way!“In the meantime, this son of a postmaster and a teacher, born in Morocco and passed through the Faculty of Letters of Besançon, was passionate about public speaking and literature: Victor Hugo, Aragon, but also Jean from Ormesson. If Mitterrand often invited the author of To the pleasure of god, Mélenchon waited for nearly an hour, in the hallway of a television channel, for the happiness of being able to meet the aristocrat and columnist star of the Figaro… In those years, registered with the socialist group then with the group “Communist, republican, citizen” as specified in the section of the “Who’s Who In which he wished to appear, the young senator, future MEP, then (in 2017) deputy of Bouches-du-Rhône under the label of his new party, rebellious France, already saw himself as President of the Republic. With a score of 11.10% of the vote in 2012 as a candidate for a left-wing coalition in the presidential election, was he not going to jump, in 2017, candidate of rebellious France, to 19.58%? Admired for his culture, his nerve and his eloquence, did he not become the star guest of TV shows?

By reviewing the other evening the duel between December 8, 1989 the very young minister of Mitterrand to the old leader of the extreme right, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the resemblance appears.

Christine Clerc

But here it is: since the common program with the Communists led the Socialists to the victory of 1981, the people, disappointed by the increase in unemployment, immigration and insecurity, have “righted” themselves. However, Mélenchon does not have the incredible self-control which Mitterrand knew how to show, the evenings when everything seemed lost like the evenings of victory. His foreign friendships worry as much as his Franco-French declarations of war. In 2017, praising dictator Hugo Chavez, he declared US imperialism responsible for the disorder in Venezuela. It is still going quite well in French opinion. But when he supports Chavez’s successor Maduro, whose crackdown kills hundreds. When, in search of recognition (Le Pen, he can boast of having received the Cross of Military Valor) he was awarded the Cross of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit Argentina in 1988 by President Alfonsi. When, in the middle of the spring of 2021 of confinement, and while his compatriots are prohibited from traveling, he goes for a walk for nearly a month in Ecuador and Bolivia, it does not pass. The Marseille deputy hoped to make people forget the violent scene of the search of his office in October 2018, where he was seen, his eyes bulging, screaming in the face of an examining magistrate and a police commissioner “the Republic is me!“. It only adds to the confusion. Its popularity is plummeting: if 11% of French people still appreciate it, 70% reject it. This is 10% more than those to whom Marine Le Pen, in search of appeasement and respectability, still scares.

Failure of a diabolical but, he believed, intelligent strategy? Fragility of a too vain and angry temperament? Or desperation to understand that he will never be president? Suddenly, seeing the other evening, in the middle of a televised document on Bernard Tapie, the duel between the very young minister of Mitterrand on December 8, 1989 against the old leader of the extreme right, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the resemblance appears: this belching mouth, this face deformed by anger, these threatening gestures of the founder of the National Front, then 61 years old… It looks like those of the founder of France Insoumise, who will soon be celebrating his 70 years! 35 years before Mélenchon, Le Pen repeatedly made scandal his favorite weapon. Appreciated by some for his nostalgia for French Algeria but also for its culture, to the point that Count Olivier d’Ormesson (cousin of Jean) organized faubourg Saint-Germain dinners for him and was elected to the European Parliament under the FN label. The former para launched, in 1987, at the microphone of RTL his terrible sentence on “the gas chambers, a detail of history“. Olivier d’Ormesson resigned from the FN. But that didn’t stop Le Pen from climbing. By alternating quotes from Edmond Rostand in the direction of a popular electorate (“You little ones, the rank and file …“), Little anti-Semitic phrases such as”Durafour crematorium” or “the German Occupation was not particularly inhuman“And other provocations that we would qualify today as” conspirators “like this comment, the day after an attempted assassination of Jacques Chirac, in 2002:”It is a sham attack!“, It climbed from 0.75% in the first round of the 1974 presidential election to 17.79% in 1995. In the meantime, Mitterrand having introduced proportional representation, the FN entered the National Assembly with 33 deputies.

In the manner of Le Pen father 33 years ago, he patronizes demonstrations where anti-Semites parade. And never stops throwing new bombs, intended not only to make people talk about him, but to explode the political landscape.

Christine Clerc

Mélenchon today has 17. Failing to have succeeded in attracting a sufficient proportion of the young, poorly educated and unemployed categories – now attracted, in Seine-Saint-Denis as in Bouches-du-Rhône, by the RN – it seeks to rely on voters from the former colonies and immigration. In the manner of Le Pen father 33 years ago, he patronizes demonstrations where anti-Semites parade. And never stops throwing new bombs, intended not only to make people talk about him, but to explode the political landscape. The other Sunday, he therefore announced, for the days preceding the future presidential election, “an extremely serious event which will once again allow us to point the finger at Muslims“. This provokes the indignation of the political class. It closes the doors of the Elysee for good, it is said. But what if that allowed him to seduce new conspiratorial voters? Like Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon likes to reread Chateaubriand: “Get up quickly, thunderstorms desired!»

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