Macron is obvious choice over Le Pen, but France can do better
Supporters of the French Communist Party march in Paris. | PCF

Pierre Laurent is the National Secretary of the French Communist Party, which backed left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first-round of the country’s presidential election. This is an abbreviated version of an op-ed Laurent wrote immediately following the vote.

The second round of the French presidential election will be a contest between the racist and xenophobic candidate of the far-right Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, the candidate selected by the financial world to reinforce the liberal policies afflicting our country for the past 40 years.

This situation is extremely grave for our country. The far-right reached the second round and the left has been eliminated. However, for the first time in decades, millions of citizens, striving for social change, nearly succeeded in carrying their candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, to the second round.

Voters who were betrayed by the policies of François Hollande and Manuel Valls and who worked hard to bring Mélenchon to the second round are today experiencing mixed and sometimes contradictory feelings.

At the time of writing, and given the first results available to us, we would like to say to these voters that the nearly 20 percent score obtained by Mélenchon raises a new hope for the future, for the reinvention of the new left our country has been waiting for, and to unlock the political system and democracy.

This result is remarkable and is the first time since 1981 that a candidate representing social transformation has achieved such a score.

The struggle continues for millions of young people – women and men who aspire to a new society free from the tyranny of profitability, austerity, unemployment, and social insecurity.

We are entering a completely new and exceptional period in the history of France. The two parties who have dominated French political life for 40 years – the Socialists and the Republicans – were eliminated in the first round of voting.

Aspiration for change, for a new choice of society, will continue to grow inexorably. The mobilization of youth and working-class neighborhoods is a promise for the future.

For us, this is the essential lesson of the campaign: nothing is more urgent than to remain open to these new aspirations for a genuine citizens’ democracy, to seek the path that will enable us to join forces to build a new social and ecological republic that is respectful of diversity and the expectations of our people.

This is a struggle that the Communist Party intends to pursue with all political, social, and citizen forces available. We have unprecedented advantages going forward.

The commitment of our party, our activists, and our elected officials to Mélenchon’s campaign brought about promising new alliances. Mélenchon achieved strong results in cities, cantons, and districts where the Communist Party is well-established and has a significant network of activists and representatives.

Mélenchon’s results demonstrate a deep desire for change; greater honesty in politics; and more social justice, solidarity, democracy, peace, and respect for the environment.

The French left has opened a new page in its history with this campaign. The Communist Party is completely invested in this revitalization through our project, La France en Commun, and fully focused on the challenges of the 21st century.

At this time, aware of the huge battles to come and the responsibilities that our party bears. For the second round of voting on May 7, we call for a vote that will block Marine Le Pen’s bid for the presidency and thwart the menace she and her clan represent for democracy, the republic, and peace. Unfortunately, there is only one ballot that can be used to that effect.

Le Pen seeks a society of hatred, racism, and xenophobia; a society that would divide those with common interests to benefit her own clan and financial powers; a society that would scorn the fundamental principles of equality and fraternity in favor of discrimination. We do not want this.

Le Pen wants a dangerous world where war becomes possible and nationalist rivalries would be encouraged.

With Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, and the European far-right movements as allies, she would threaten world security if she were president of France, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. We do not want this.

It is our duty, for today and for future generations, to prevent her from becoming president of our republic, which would mean that the far-right would have control of all of the instruments of the state.

Our appeal for May 7 is obviously in no case a show of support for the neoliberal, anti-social program of Macron, which we opposed when he was a minister and which we will continue to fight without concession whenever workers and their rights and public services are under attack.

Faced with the ballot choice of Le Pen or Macron, the legislative elections to be held on June 11 and 18 are of crucial importance.

Citizens who carried the banner for social transformation by voting for Mélenchon must now persevere and break through with the legislative elections.

The National Assembly can act as a counterweight to the policies advanced by the government following the second round of the presidential election on May 7.

On the strength of the result obtained this Sunday, we can elect numerous honest representatives who will be close to you and defend the interests of the people – just as Communists MPs have done for these past five years, in particular against the so-called Macron and el-Khomri laws.

These representatives will resist the right and will not make alliances with MPs from Macron’s party to approve anti-social laws.

These MPs will be a force of resistance and hope in the face of financial greed, fighting hatred and division.

The French Communist Party is presenting and supporting a new generation of candidates, an equal number of men and women, to bring the people’s voice into the National Assembly.

The Communist Party calls on the forces of the left and progress – Mélenchon’s team and those from la France Insoumise; supporters of Benoît Hamon; Socialists and Greens; women and men – who want to rebuild a dynamic force for social transformation to meet, debate, and prepare for these decisive elections together.

The French Communist Party is ready to engage in this effort at once.


Pierre Laurent
Pierre Laurent

Pierre Laurent is the National Secretary of the French Communist Party. He serves as an Île-de-France Regional Councillor and was previously a Member of the European Parliament and president of the Party of the European Left.