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Mélenchon's supporters could be kingmakers in France's presidential election

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By Cyril Fourneris
A recent poll suggests that around a third of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's supporters intend to vote for the Emmanuel Macron on April 24.
A recent poll suggests that around a third of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's supporters intend to vote for the Emmanuel Macron on April 24.   -   Copyright  Euronews   -  

As the second round of the French presidential election approaches, Jean-Luc Mélenchon's supporters could cast the decisive vote.

The La France Insoumise’s candidate reached third place in the first round of the election, falling just short of far-right Marine Le Pen.

The supporters of the former left-wing candidate are now divided on who to turn to in the next round.

“This is a second-round that we didn't expect, that we didn't want,” said one man in Seine-Saint-Denis, a department in the Paris region.

“I can't stand either [Marine Le Pen or Emmanuel Macron], but I'm still going to vote,” said another man.

Around half of the voters in Seine-Saint-Denis cast ballots for Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

A recent poll suggests that only around a third of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's supporters intend to vote for the incumbent Emmanuel Macron on April 24.

“We are doing more than our share by saying that not one vote should go to Marine Le Pen, by advising people to go and vote,” Éric Coquerel, the LFI deputy in Seine-Saint-Denis, told Euronews.

“From then on it's perhaps up to Emmanuel Macron to prove that Marine Le Pen is worse than he is”.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, unlike several other defeated candidates, refused to call on his supporters to vote for Macron after he lost the first round.

Though, he did call on his supporters not to vote for Marine Le Pen.

His party now intends to capitalize on its support, with a view to the legislative elections in June.

"[We are] building a majority of ‘Union Populaire’ (Mélenchon's platform), that would include parties that were not with us in the presidential elections and that could join our platform,” Coquerel added.

“It is likely to continue to mobilise the electorate, and why not increase it."

Polls suggest that turnout for the second round will be around 71 percent, slightly lower than in 2017.

“The legislative elections are traditionally a validation of the result of the second round of the presidential election,” said Mathieu Gallard, the Research director at the IPSOS polling institute.

“However, it may have an impact on the mobilization of the Mélenchon electorate for the second round by pushing them not to choose or to vote blank or void.”

It is now the final stretch of this presidential election.

From midnight on Friday, France will enter into an electoral silence period until the end of the final round on Sunday.