The war in Ukraine, the number one angle of attack against Mélenchon on the left

In front of the Prado beach where Jean-Luc Mélenchon's meeting took place, in Marseille, on March 27, 2022.

One “revelator” for some, the material for harmful controversies and a few changes of foot for others. With the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in the presidential campaign, Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) and Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party) found the subject to attack the candidate of the Popular Union, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who race in the lead on the left. In the polls, it is difficult for the moment to distinguish the effect of these criticisms on left-wing voters.

Do they think, as Yannick Jadot claimed on Tuesday on LCI, that the war revealed “principles, values”, with, on one side, “those who defend democracy everywhere” and, on the other, “some who consider that democracy is important at home, but when it is others, it can be relativized” ? Are they sensitive to the argument of Anne Hidalgo, who, in The Express, considered that Jean-Luc Mélenchon, like Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, was part “agents who served Putin’s interests rather than those of France, trying to mitigate what the Russian regime was preparing against Europe and our democratic models” ? The vote will tell. One thing is certain, the war in Ukraine did not move the geopolitical software of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, so decried by its competitors, but it forced it to adapt the form a little.

Our live on the conflict in Ukraine: War in Ukraine, live: “Europe has no right to remain silent in the face of what is happening” in Mariupol, says Volodymyr Zelensky

The leader of La France insoumise (LFI) reduced the place given in his speeches to the thesis of the Russian sphere of influence, to that of the provocations of which the West would have been guilty through NATO. From Ukraine, he said, in 2015, “this country that has so much trouble being one”, in a blog post, where he also believed that Vladimir Putin was “the first political victim” of the assassination of opponent Boris Nemtsov. Since then, he has sided with the “Ukrainian people”. As for the Russian President, he “must not dream, he will be banned from the international community”, he said on France Inter, Wednesday. But in this war, Jean-Luc Mélenchon recognizes at most an error of assessment. And again, he blames it on others.

Also read the analysis: Article reserved for our subscribers “Munichois”, “warmonger”: the conflict in Ukraine awakens old divisions on the left

Energy divides

At the same microphone, he said he had “learned to [ses] expense of being skeptical,” noting that the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as the general staff of the French armies, had been the first to distance Washington’s assessments of the risk of an imminent war, in February. “And yet, it was the Americans who were right…” On this point, the dismissal of the head of intelligence of the armies in France supports his argument. As for the rest, he maintained: “The French must be absolutely sovereign, we will defend ourselves. » Jean-Luc Mélenchon did not blink as to his position “unaligned” which, he says, does not mean “neutrality”. On the left, there were several before the war to criticize NATO. The communist candidate, Fabien Roussel, has now put the idea of ​​leaving it at a distance, although it is present in his program; Yannick Jadot, who believed in 2019 that it was a ” empty shell “, now confines itself to defending the need for European defence. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, he maintains.

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