Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE OBSERVERS

The controversial colonial statue in Senegal; and the centuries-old town in Turkey being destroyed by the govt

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

End of an era: Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'We aren't ready' for a second vote in Kenya and flip-flopping on climate change

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Another Hurricane? It's Maria's turn. And, when's your printer going to stop working?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo: New report says army worked with militias to massacre hundreds in Beni

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

All eyes on Trump and Macron at UN General Assembly

Read more

THE DEBATE

Trump goes to the UN: What role for the United States on the world stage?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

German elections: Top MEP 'concerned' as populists rise in polls

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Four more years for Angela Merkel?

Read more

France

Thousands rally behind far-left presidential candidate Mélenchon

© Eric FEFERBERG / AFP | French presidential election candidate for the far-left coalition "La France insoumise" Jean-Luc Melenchon (C) taking part in the "Marche pour la VI Republique" (March for the 6th Republic) on March 18, 2017, in Paris.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-03-18

Far-left French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon gathered tens of thousands of supporters in Paris at a rally Saturday calling for deep reforms in the French constitution.

Melenchon, who wants to shorten France's 35-hour workweek, leave NATO, block free-trade deals and stop using nuclear energy, has pledged to summon a constituent assembly if he wins the election.

The 65-year-old former Socialist who previously served as minister for vocational training often depicts himself as the candidate of the people. He promises to get rid of what he calls the "presidential monarchy" and give more power to parliament.

The gathering Saturday between two iconic squares in the French capital - the Place de La Bastille and Place de la Republique - took place on the anniversary of the Paris Commune, an alliance between the middle and working classes who broke into revolt on the 18th of March 1871 in the wake of the collapse of Napoleon III's Second Empire.

Melenchon was greeted to chants of "President! President!" as he joined the cortege. He later claimed on his Twitter account that 130,000 people had attended.

Melenchon, who is supported by the Communist party, has so far struggled to make his campaign take off. Opinion polls suggest he has no chance of making it to the second round of France's presidential ballot on May 7.

Melenchon and his Socialist rival Benoit Hamon are running neck-and-neck in opinion polls, but well behind far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and conservative hopeful Francois Fillon.

Both Melenchon and Hamon have criticized Socialist President Francois Hollande's austerity politics but have failed to join forces in the presidential race.

The first round of the French presidential vote will be held on April 23, with the two top vote-getters there going into a presidential runoff ballot on May 7.

(AP)

Date created : 2017-03-18

  • FRANCE

    In pictures: 11 candidates to face off in French presidential election

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Mystery suit donor named as Fillon's French presidential bid hits point of no return

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Accusations of anti-Semitism taint French presidential race

    Read more

COMMENT(S)