Jean-Luc Mélenchon

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Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (born 19 August 1951 in Tangier, French Morocco)[1] 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.

Mélenchon left the Socialist Party in November 2008 to found the Left Party with French deputy Marc Dolez.[2][3] 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. He was also a candidate for the French presidential election 2012, representing the Front de Gauche, which is becoming the third most powerful party in France.

Personal life

Born in Tangier], he was educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen.[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.[1]

With a degree in Philosophy from the University of Franche-Comté, and having gained the Certificat d'aptitude au professorat de l'enseignement du second degré, CAPES (a professional teaching qualification), he became a teacher before entering politics.[4] [1]

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. Although representing the Left Front, in which the French Communist Party is the largest party, he is not himself a Communist.

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.

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 Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, favours a "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 is the candidate representing the Left Front (Communists, Left Party, Unitarian Left) in the French presidential election of 2012.[5] [6]

Political career

Governmental functions[1]

Minister of Vocational Education : 2000-2002

Electoral mandates

European Parliament

Member of European Parliament : Since 2009. 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 : 1998-2000 (Resignation).

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 (France) : Since 2008


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Le CV de Jean-Luc Mélenchon", Europe 1, 5 March 2012
  2. statement by Jean-Luc Mélenchon made after he left the Socialist Party In French
  3. speech by Jean-Luc Mélenchon at the creation congress of the Left Party In French
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lycée Pierre Corneille de Rouen - History
  5. Candidates officially endorsed by Conseil constitutionnel for the 2012 presidential elections, La Tribune. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  6. Maïa de la Baume. "A far-left caniddate comes on strong, shaking up French field", 10 April 2012. Retrieved on 10 April 2012. (in English) 

External links

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