Jean-Luc Mélenchon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Baydemir & Mélenchon 2015 (cropped) 2.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
from France
Assumed office
14 July 2009
Minister of Vocational Education
In office
27 March 2000 – 6 May 2002
Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
Preceded by Claude Allègre
Succeeded by Luc Ferry
Member of the Senate
from Essonne
In office
1 October 2004 – 7 January 2010
Succeeded by Marie-Agnès Labarre
In office
2 October 1986 – 24 September 1995
Personal details
Born Jean-Luc Antoine Pierre Mélenchon
(1951-08-19) 19 August 1951 (age 65)
Tangier, Tangier International Zone (now Morocco)
Political party Internationalist Communist Organisation (Before 1977)
Socialist Party (1977–2008)
Left Party (2008–present)
Other political
Unsubmissive France (2016–present)
Alma mater University of Franche-Comté
Website Official website
European Party website

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃.lyk me.lɑ̃.ʃɔ̃]; born 19 August 1951) is a French politician.

After joining the Socialist Party in 1976, he was successively elected municipal councilor of Massy (1983), general councilor of the Essonne departement (1985), and senator of the same departement (1986, reelected in 1995 and 2004). He also served as Minister delegate of Vocational Education between 2000 and 2002, next to the Ministry of National Education, Jack Lang, in the cohabitation government of Lionel Jospin.

He was part of the left wing of the Socialist Party until the Reims Congress of 2008, at the outcome of which he left that party to found the Left Party with deputy Marc Dolez.[1][2] He was the president of the party, and then the co-president of it, along with Martine Billard, until August 2014.[3]

As leader of the Left Party, he joined the electoral coalition of the Left Front before the 2009 European elections and was elected member of the European Parliament in the South-West constituency (reelected in 2014). During the protest movement against the pension reform of 2010 his public stature grew thanks to his many public and television appearances. He was also the candidate of that coalition in the 2012 presidential election, at the outcome of which he came in fourth, receiving 11.1% of the votes. He is a candidate to the 2017 presidential election "outside the frame of political parties", and founded the movement "Unsubmissive France" (LFI) in February 2016.

Early life[edit]

Born in Tangier (Tangier International Zone),[4] he was educated at the Lycée Pierre-Corneille in Rouen (Normandy).[5]

His father was a postmaster and his Spanish-born mother was a primary school teacher. He grew up in Morocco, until his family moved to France in 1962.[4]

With a degree in philosophy from the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon, and having gained the CAPES (a professional teaching qualification), he became a teacher before entering politics.[4][5]

Political career[edit]

2012 French presidential candidate[edit]

He was the candidate representing the Left Front (Communist Party of France, Left Party, Unitarian Left) in the 2012 French presidential election.[6][7] He took fourth place and achieved 11.10% 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). In comparison, the winner François Hollande received 28.63% of the vote.[8][not in citation given]

2012 French legislative candidate[edit]

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.[9] 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.[10]

Political positions[edit]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon is a socialist republican and historical materialist, inspired primarily by Jean Jaurès (the founder of French republican socialism). He is a proponent of increased labour rights and the expansion of French welfare programmes.[11] Mélenchon has also called for the mass redistribution of wealth to rectify existing socioeconomic inequalities.[11] Domestic policies proposed by Mélenchon include a 100 per cent income tax on all French nationals earning over 360,000 Euros a year, full state reimbursement for healthcare costs, a reduction in presidential powers in favour of the legislature, and the easing of immigration laws.[12]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (right) with Olivier Besancenot (left) and José Bové (centre) at a meeting to rally support for the "No" vote in the European Constitution referendum of 2005.

Mélenchon is an outspoken critic of the European Union (EU), which he claims has been corrupted through putative neoliberalism.[13] During his 2012 campaign, Mélenchon positioned himself against the trend towards economic globalisation, which he denounced as disproportionately profiting the financial industry and "high income earners" at the expense of the poor.[13] He insisted international organisations such as the EU threatened to "strangle the voice of the people".[14]

Mélenchon opposes the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which he perceives as an affront to France's national sovereignty.[14] He has repeatedly called for France to withdraw from NATO.[14]

Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2013 in Toulouse.

Jean‑Luc Mélenchon has expressed his support for the secularization of the French society and for the legality of same-sex marriage and euthanasia.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Governmental functions[4]

Minister of Vocational Education, 2000–2002.

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament since 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

Co-President of the Left Party, 2008-2014.


  1. ^ Statement by Jean‑Luc Mélenchon made after he left the Socialist Party (French)
  2. ^ Speech by Jean-Luc Mélenchon at the creation congress of the Left Party (French)
  3. ^ Sulzer, Alexandre (24 August 2014). "Quelle mouche a piqué Jean‑Luc Mélenchon?". L’Express (in French). Paris. ISSN 0245-9949. Archived from the original on 29 October 2015. Décidément, Jean‑Luc Mélenchon aime les subtilités. Celui dont on connaissait le ‘vague à l’âme’ depuis une interview pour le site fin juillet a confirmé vendredi qu’il quittait la co‑présidence du Parti de Gauche (PG) avec Martine Billard. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Le CV de Jean‑Luc Mélenchon", Europe 1, 5 March 2012
  5. ^ a b "Lycée Pierre Corneille de Rouen: History". 19 April 1944. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  6. ^ Candidates officially endorsed by Conseil constitutionnel for the 2012 presidential elections, La Tribune. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  7. ^ De la Baume, Maïa; Erlanger, Steven (10 April 2012). "In French Vote, Sound and Fury From the Left". New York Times (New York ed.). p. A6. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Elections Législatives – Results". France 24. 
  9. ^ "Election présidentielle 2012 – Résultats du 1er tour par circonscription" (in French). Politiquemania. 
  10. ^ "French far‑left leader Jean‑Luc Melenchon admits defeat by far‑right's Le Pen". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. AFP. 11 June 2012. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Mr Melenchon said he would not stand in next Sunday’s second round after coming third, instead leaving his Socialist rival to battle Ms Le Pen. . . . Mr Melenchon won 11 per cent of votes in the April‑May presidential vote that was won by Socialist Francois Hollande, while Ms Le Pen won almost 18 per cent of votes. 
  11. ^ a b Pr’ncipe, Catarina; Sunkara, Bhaskar (July 2016). Europe in Revolt: Mapping the New European Left. Chicago: Haymarket Books. pp. 91–92. ISBN 978-1608465934. 
  12. ^ Fenby, Jonathan (November 2016). France: A Modern History from the Revolution to the War with Terror. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 448–449. ISBN 978-1250096838. 
  13. ^ a b Heinen, Nicolaus; Hartleb, Florian (2014). "Euroscepticism gaining currency? Implications of the EU elections for economic policy" (PDF). Frankfurt, Germany: Deutsche Bank AG. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c "French left rally behind anti-NATO Mélenchon". France Médias Monde (France 24). Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris. 6 April 2014. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2016. 

External links[edit]