Far-left Mélenchon and far-right Le Pen to face-off in legislative elections
The defeated candidates on the far-right and the far-left of the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, are to go head-to-head in the battle to represent the small working class constituency of Hénin-Beaumont near Calais, in June’s legislative elections.
Mélenchon officially announced his candidancy on Saturday and Le Pen is expected to do the same on Monday from the town in the north of France where she was a local councilor between 2008 -2011.
Next month, France goes to the polls again in a legislative election which will decide whether President François Hollande wins a working majority in parliament and whether Le Pen and Mélenchon's rival camps can win enough seats to influence debate.
Le Pen came in first in the April presidential vote in the constituency, a former mining town fallen on hard times, with 31 per cent of voters backing her plan to pull France out of the euro, close its borders and expel immigrants.
Mélenchon came fourth overall in the presidential election behind Le Pen, Hollande and the
outgoing centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy, but scored better in the region than he did on average nationally, with a score of 14.85 per cent.
Speaking on Saturday, Mélenchon said the fight between the two candidates would be one of opposing visions on how to solve the economic crisis.
“If you don’t want to do anything and blame the arabs who are working in the factories, vote for Madame Le Pen,” he said. “If you want to hit back at thuggish bosses and stop job losses, vote for Jean-Luc Mélenchon.”
In 2007’s legislative elections, Le Pen was beaten into second place by the socialist candidate.