More strike action in Guyana and Jean-Luc Mélenchon makes headlines. The hard left candidate in the presidential race is now tipped to come third in the first round vote on April 23, taking over from conservative François Fillon.
Le Monde reports on the on-going striking strife in Guyana which has paralyzed the nation with road blockades forcing the closure of schools and shops.
The strikes in the French overseas territory of South America bordering Brazil have become a concern in the lead up to the French presidential elections.
The country’s healthcare, transport and energy workers are demanding jobs, pay increases and improvements to the quality of public services.
A new blockade to begin today “will be only partial”, the paper reports. The group behind it, “Pou La Gwiyann dékolé”, a collective composed of residents and citizens, teachers, transporters and trade unionists mostly from the Guyanese Workers Union have announced the blockage.
No end in sight to fortnight strike
They are at the origin of the general strike movement that started on March 25 it says.
The UTG is an umbrella organization for workers from some 37 unions.
Le Monde says the organizers of the social movement have decided against a total blockade, in the face of public criticism.
Initially they planned on stopping even bicycles and motorcyclists through, allowing only emergency vehicles to pass.
French economists fear rebuff
In other news Le Monde says that French “economists fear not to be heard” as the election looms.
Discomfort is on the rise among the country’s economists it reports, who in the wake of the Brexit victory in the UK and that of Donald Trump in the US “doubt their influence”.
It all started in the US where the most famous economics professors failed to convince people of the factual inaccuracies spread by Trump according to Philippe Aghion, from the Parisian higher education and research institute, the Collège de France.
During the campaign he says he strongly admired his American colleagues who constantly returned to the television newscasts, “to be insulted by the public.”
Mélenchon looms large
Right-wing Le Figaro reports on the hard left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who the latest polls prior to the April 23rd election, show has gained six points since March, overtaking conservative contender François Fillon for the first time in voting intentions.
“Mélenchon wants to believe his turn has arrived” it reports from Marseilles where the Communist-backed presidential candidate has been rallying, high on his recent success.
A photo shows him striding breezily past the yachts in his signature Mao Tse Tung like collarless black jacket on the old port of Marseilles, where several tens of thousands gathered yesterday to support him.
At the beginning of his speech he paid tribute to the thousands of immigrants who had died in “the cemetery” of the Mediterranean over the past couple of years.
In doing so he made a direct attack on the extreme right leader Marine Le Pen, “against whom he dreams of fighting in the second round” writes Le Figaro.
The rally, in so far as a show of strength, was crucial to the last 13 days before the first round of the presidential election, the paper deems.
Multi-city hologram rally planned
Left-wing Libération also reports on the Mélenchon phenomenon. He has dazzled his fans with his high-tech approach to the campaign … far from jaded stereotypes of outdated Bolsheviks.
He launched his campaign as a hologram, taking to the stage in Lyon while his three-dimensional image spoke simultaneously to a delighted audience in Paris.
The formula has been such a success he now according to the paper planning to stage the same trick in seven cities simultaneously.
Five days before the vote, on April 18, “Mélenchon will be physically in Dijon, while his doubles will be visible in Nancy, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier, Le Port, Nantes and Grenoble,” writes Libération.
It’s all part of his “citizen revolution” in which technology clearly plays a big part.