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Jean-Luc Mélenchon


Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Minister of Vocational Education
In office
27 March 2000 – 6 May 2002
President Jacques Chirac
Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
Preceded by Claude Allègre
Succeeded by Luc Ferry
Member of the European Parliament
from France
Assumed office
14 July 2009
Senator from Essonne
In office
2 October 1986 – 24 September 1995
In office
1 October 2004 – 7 January 2010
Personal details
Born (1951-08-19) 19 August 1951 (age 62)
(now Morocco)
Political party Internationalist Communist Organisation (Before 1977)
Socialist Party (1977–2008)
Left Party (2008–present)
Alma mater University of Franche-Comté

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ɑ̃'ʃɔ̃]; born 19 August 1951) is a French politician who served in the government of France as Minister of Vocational Education from 2000 to 2002. He was also a member of the French Senate, representing the département of Essonne. He came 4th in the 2012 French presidential election achieving about 11% of the vote.

Mélenchon left the Socialist Party in November 2008 to found the Left Party with French deputy Marc Dolez.[1][2] As leader of the Left Party, he joined the Left Front before the 2009 European elections and was selected as the coalition's main candidate in the South-West region. At those elections he won 8.15% of the votes cast and was elected to the European Parliament.

Mélenchon is co-president of the Left Party along with Martine Billard. During the protest movement against the pension reform of 2010 his public stature grew thanks to his many public and television appearances.

Personal life

Born in Tangier (International zone of Tangier),[3] he was educated at the Lycée Pierre-Corneille in Rouen (Normandy).[4]

His father worked in the postal services, and his Spanish-born mother was a primary school teacher. He grew up in Morocco, until his family moved to France in 1962.[3]

With a degree in philosophy from the University of Franche-Comté, and having gained the CAPES (a professional teaching qualification), he became a teacher before entering politics.[3][4]

Political ideas

Jean-Luc Mélenchon is a socialist republican and historical materialist, inspired primarily by Jean Jaurès (the founder of French republican socialism) and employing Marxian analysis to understand the crisis of market capitalism.

Previously a defender of European federalism, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has renounced that political commitment, declaring that "the European Union is no longer a solution but a problem, because economic liberalism has totally corrupted the institution and makes it impossible to achieve the democratic change needed in the EU, all power belonging to technocrats with no popular legitimacy." For this reason, he is for the establishment of a different, democratic, united, and cooperative Europe, and is opposed to the Lisbon Treaty as well as questioning the independence of the European Central Bank.

Based on his experiences in South America, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, like Rafael Correa, Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales,[dubious ] favours a "The Citizens' Revolution" (révolution citoyenne), drawing additionally on ideas stemming from the French Revolution and the Paris Commune, and a new strategy that respects the democratic process while seeking to win elections in order to change the constitution. This "citizens' revolution" should lead to a reversal of the current division of wealth held by capital, represented by shareholders, and the working class (understood in the broad sense of anyone who actually works to earn money directly). Additional goals include a new constitution that will initiate a 6th French Republic in which the president will have less power and Parliament more, increase wages, a public bank created by nationalizing the private banks, democratization through the establishment of new rights for employees allowing them to develop cooperatives, the nationalization of large corporations, environmental planning, an exit from NATO, an end to the war in Afghanistan, and peace in the Middle East through the creation of a Palestinian state. Jean-Luc Mélenchon also insists on the importance of "popular involvement" through public referendums on any essential subject. He expressed his support for even more secularization of the French society and for the legality of same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

2012 French presidential candidate

He was the candidate representing the Left Front (Communist Party of France, Left Party, Unitarian Left) in the 2012 French presidential election.[5][6] He took fourth place and achieved 11.05% of the vote, trailing behind François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Marine Le Pen and their respective parties, the Socialist Party, Union for a Popular Movement, and National Front. For comparison, the frontrunner François Hollande received 28.63% of the vote.[7]

2012 French legislative candidate

Hénin-Beaumont in 2012

Main article: French legislative election, 2012

Mélenchon represented the Left Front in the Pas-de-Calais' 11th constituency, to confront his rival Marine Le Pen, where she had over 31% in the presidential election.[8] He received third place with 21.46% of the vote, narrowly edged out for second by Socialist Party member Phillip Kemel. Mélenchon decided not to stand in the second round of the election after this result.[9]

Political career

Governmental functions[3]

Minister of Vocational Education, 2000–2002.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament since elected in 2009.

Senate of France

Senator of Essonne, 1986–2000 (became minister in 2000), 2004–2010 (resignation, elected in European Parliament in 2009). Elected in 1986, reelected in 1995, 2004. (At the age of 35, he was the youngest member of the Senate when he was elected to it in 1986.)

General Council

Vice-president of the General Council of Essonne, 1998–2001.

General councillor of Essonne, 1985–1992, 1998–2004. Reelected in 1998.

Municipal Council

Deputy-mayor of Massy, Essonne, 1983–1995.

Municipal councillor of Massy, Essonne, 1983–2001. Reelected in 1989, 1995.

Political function

President of the Left Party since 2008.


External links

France portal
French politics portal
  • Page on the French Senate website
  • MEP webpage

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