Why French presidential hopeful Mélenchon is under fire over 'leniency' towards Russia


Since the start of Russia's war in Ukraine the presidential candidate for the radical left La France Insoumise party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon appears to have changed his tone in relation to the regime in Moscow. He issued a statement condemning the invasion in unequivocal terms. But current events have led to detailed scrutiny of his past and sometimes controversial stances on international relations. In particular, a desire to be “non-aligned” in global political terms has led to claims that Mélenchon – the clear front-runner on the Left in opinion polls - has shown relative lenience towards Vladimir Putin's regime. Pauline Graulle reports.

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His meetings have been overflowing with people, there has not been a single misstep in communication terms for a month and the polls are slowly but surely edging up. But will the war in Ukraine now change the course of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's campaign, ahead of the French presidential elections next month? For the last few days the candidate for the radical-left La France Insoumise party has been at the centre of a major political row, one driven by his direct rivals on the Left. Yannick Jadot, the candidate for the green Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV) party, has accused Mélenchon of “indulgence” towards Vladimir Putin's regime while Socialist Party candidate Anne Hidalgo has gone further by talking of his “complicity”.