in Marseille, mixed reception for Jean-Luc Mélenchon

By Julie Carriat

Posted today at 09:58, updated at 10:07

Mayor of 1er and 7and boroughs of Marseille, Sophie Camard had a busy schedule this Sunday, March 27. In the morning, she was on the Kennedy Corniche, just closed to traffic for the return of the summer season. In the afternoon, towards the rue d’Aubagne, for a forum on the future of the district bereaved by the collapse of several buildings in November 2018. His path could almost have crossed that of Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France insoumise , LFI), who was holding a meeting in front of the Prado beaches, but no, the silence that has reigned between the two elected officials for more than two years continues. Substitute for the deputy of Bouches-du-Rhône, the former ecologist joined Printemps Marseille in the municipal elections of 2020 and since then the break has been recorded. The arrival of the candidate of the Popular Union in the presidential election, the mayor, who supports Fabien Roussel, expects nothing. “The beautiful images with the sea in the background, we are used to”, she says. And to add: “It is emblematic of our two political realities, I have an agenda completely next to his…”

Speech by Jean Luc Mélenchon during his meeting in Marseille, March 27, 2022.
In the public who came to listen to the presidential candidate of the Popular Union, in Marseille, on March 27, 2022. According to the organizers, 35,000 people had made the trip but the crowd was actually sparse.

Marseille and its (beautiful) districts, so symbolic in the imaginations of the left, will have finally reserved for Jean-Luc Mélenchon a warm but more modest welcome than elsewhere, in Paris or Lyon. If the organizers mention 35,000 people, it is difficult to see a third of them. It will still be the biggest meeting in the Marseille city for this presidential election. The deputy’s supporters marched on the boulevard du Prado, from the metro to the stage set up in front of the beach, but the candidate himself did not lend himself to the walkabout. The images would have been less flattering than that of his big Parisian march seven days ago. “Here, we don’t take too many risks because it’s Marseille”he said, however, the day before, during a press briefing.

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It is ultimately in his own constituency that he pays for the gap between the expectations and the reality of his mandate as deputy leader of the movement. His entourage notes that Marseille is not “a city of meetings”that here more than elsewhere, mobilizing is difficult. “People understood that they had a national leader deputy and moreover Jean-Luc Mélenchon brought Marseille issues, including housing, to the National Assembly”, tempers the deputy of Seine-Saint-Denis Eric Coquerel. To defend working-class neighborhoods, his campaign does not lack representatives – the mayor of Stains (Seine-Saint-Denis) Azzedine Taïbi, the young journalist Taha Bouhafs, the legislative candidate David Guiraud, the local “rebellious” Mohamed Bensaada are the. On stage, Manuel Bompard speaks in the first part. The name of the MEP is circulating to succeed Mr. Mélenchon in this fourth constituency that the left could tear off with hue and cry in a few weeks depending on what the LFI candidate decides to do. Sophie Camard, for her part, assures that she does not intend to go there, but that the Marseille Spring will arise “as a mediator and local conciliator to avoid a dispersion of the left”.

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