‘French far-left leader Mélenchon and former PM Valls locked in war of words’

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, born 19 August 1951) is a left-wing French politician who currently serves as a member of the National Assembly of the French Republic.

After joining the Socialist Party in 1976, he was successively elected municipal councilor of Massy (1983), general councilor of the Essonne departement (1985), and senator of the same department (1986, re-elected in 1995 and 2004). He also served as Minister-Delegate of Vocational Education between 2000 and 2002, under the Minister of National Education, Jack Lang, in the cohabitationgovernment of Lionel Jospin. He was part of the left-wing of the Socialist Party until the Reims Congress of 2008, at the outcome of which he left that party to found the Left Party with deputy Marc Dolez. He was the president of the party, and then the co-president of it, along with Martine Billard, until August 2014.

As leader of the Left Party, he joined the electoral coalition of the Left Front before the 2009 European elections, and was elected member of the European Parliament in the South-West constituency (re-elected in 2014). During the protest movement against the pension reform of 2010, his public stature grew, thanks to his many public and television appearances. He was also the candidate of that coalition in the 2012 presidential election, at the outcome of which he came in fourth, receiving 11.1% of the votes. He founded the movement La France Insoumise (FI) in February 2016. He was a candidate in the 2017 presidential election “outside the frame of political parties”, at the outcome of which he again came in fourth, receiving 19.58% of the votes. He became in June 2017 a MP for La France Insoumise by winning the following 2017 French legislative election (59.85% in the second round) in the 4th constituency of Bouches-du-Rhône department (Marseille).

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