Vladimir Putin

The sorry spectacle of the French presidential election

The sorry spectacle of the French presidential election

A far-left candidate’s meteoric rise has given a surrealist hue to the already remarkable French presidential campaign. Heading toward the Sunday election, firebrand radical Jean-Luc Mélenchon is among four top candidates polling within a margin of just 4 percentage points.

The outcome is too close to call. But it’s possible that at least one extremist will reach the May 7 runoff. That both finalists will be populists — one from the radical left and one from the radical right — cannot be ruled out.

Avuncular, loquacious, with a touch of the litterateur about him, Mélenchon, 65, is in fact a soak-the-rich revolutionary who champions Russian President...

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