Immersed in the dim light of the Caen congress center (Calvados), Wednesday, June 8, a compact crowd is impatient. “Where’s Meluche?” ! grumble some. “We didn’t come for them,” whisper a few. To attend the “show” that Jean-Luc Mélenchon was going to offer them, they had to be patient. And loudly applaud each Nupes candidate to hide their annoyance. Olivier Faure, first secretary of the PS and fervent craftsman of the agreement, entertains them by launching some projections on the weakness of the party of which he nevertheless still holds the reins. “I have to admit, I got used to smaller venues,” he jokes, in a thinly veiled allusion to Anne Hidalgo’s disastrous campaign, which only picked up 1, 7% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election.

“Here is our messiah!” Suddenly chants a man when he sees Mélenchon on the giant screen in the room. Breaking through the crowd of sympathizers gathered, for lack of space, at the gates of the meeting with difficulty, “Méluche” savors his moment. All hands are reaching out to the leader of the Insoumis, welcomed as a true savior of a left scattered like a puzzle a few months ago. Those who remained in the hall of the convention center do not take their eyes off the screen and are slow to sit down again, stamping their feet with impatience.

Dubbed by these activists and cheered up by recent polls giving him neck and neck with the presidential majority, the Insoumis leader confidently climbs the steps of the building’s lobby. Anyone who cherishes the dream of being “elected Prime Minister” – a constitutionally incongruous but politically promising formula – does not take long to scold the Prime Minister in office, Elisabeth Borne. The boss of Nupes mocks “one of the most sinister figures” of macronie. The former Minister of Labor would have endeavored, according to him, to “boast everywhere his admirable ability to take no account of human beings”. And “JLM” – her other nickname – added: “This lady, who refuses to argue with me, we know her well. When she was director in a ministerial office, it was she who signed the privatization of the highways. When she was Minister of Ecology, she was the one who rejected the single use of plastic…”

I’ve never seen him like this, he’s wild! A young woman present at the meeting

Each time she is mentioned, the host of Matignon is booed. “What will prevent Madame Borne from doing to French society what she did to the SNCF?” Let her go! added Mélenchon, to loud applause from the audience. Present at the same time about 60 kilometers from Caen, in Vire – one of the main municipalities of the 6th district of Calvados -, Elisabeth Borne did not take the time to answer Jean-Luc Mélenchon, preferring instead to answer questions of the Virois. A candidate in this constituency, which she knows well, the Prime Minister should be fairly easily elected, according to a poll, and had no interest in directly confronting the young candidate from Nupes who is running against her. Noé Gauchard (22) promised during his speech in Caen to send his competitor “to retirement” prematurely.

Mélenchon’s long speech – almost an hour and a half – is peppered with jokes, facial expressions and bullying. He is sometimes sycophantic, when he weaves laurels to his “friend” Olivier Faure, sometimes a joker. “You all know my age. I was at the battle of Alesia [decisive battle at the end of the Gallic war, in – 52 BC. J.-C., Editor’s note] and here I am at this one, much calmer, “he laughs. “The speaking times are organized in such a way that we do not have the floor”, he assures, while LFI could be considered for several weeks as the “darling of the media”. No matter: the formula marks the spirits and the crowd laughs out loud.

The outgoing MP for Bouches-du-Rhône, who is not a candidate for re-election, recognizes that “it is not written in the Constitution of the Fifth Republic that Jean-Luc Mélenchon must be appointed Prime Minister”, but urges Emmanuel Macron to respect republican customs: “In democracies, the leader of the majority coalition is appointed Prime Minister. Before convening, to conclude the meeting, the “methodical doubt” of René Descartes. However, he does not seem to doubt for a single second that he will be Prime Minister after the legislative elections…