Will the left be absent in the second round of the upcoming French presidential elections? Probably yes. After talks between Socialist leader Benoît Hamon and Radical Left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon broke down on Sunday it seems impossible for any of them to compete with poll favorites Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
When former Minister of Education Benoît Hamon won the primary elections of the Socialist Party (PS) voices were raised to form an alliance with the Radical Left lead by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Since both Hamon and Mélenchon are way behind in the polls, an alliance seems the only way for the French left to reach the second round of the elections. For this reason the two candidates started talking on Friday. However, it would only take two days for the negotiations to break down.
Mélenchon thinks that Hamon´s campaign is lacking credibility and points out that he is the best placed candidate to lead the alliance. In an interview with BFM TV he says:
– I won´t join no hearse (the Socialist Party). If Hamon feels ready for a political program that breaks with the past he is welcome to join us.
Hamon has not surprisingly rejected Mélenchon´s invitation since he, leading the historical PS, could only accept being the primary candidate of such an alliance. However, he has got a big task in front of him since his party is suffering from historically low levels of support. According to polls PS could be losing two thirds of their votes compared to the last elections in 2012.
Many of the lost PS votes seem to be going to independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, who at the moment is the favorite of winning the elections. This was further emphasized the other day when popular centre candidate François Bayrou announced his support for the Macron campaign. The other most probable candidate to reach the second round is according to polls Extreme Right leader Marine Le Pen, followed by conservative François Fillon whose popularity has fallen dramatically after corruption accusations.
Many debates and turns are still to come in this presidential campaign but the failure in creating a left alliance more or less rules out the possibility of leftist presence in the Elysée Palace.