The 2017 presidential election will not be a normal election preceded by a normal election campaign. In recent decades, French elections have generally been a predictable duel between the Parti Socialiste (PS) candidate and a candidate from the traditional right wing. This norm, however, experienced its first exception on April 21st, 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National (FN) eliminated Lionel Jospin (PS) in the first round.

The 2017 presidential election is at the heart of a new, profound crisis in the French Communist Party (PCF). The National Secretary of the party, Pierre Laurent, has for several months been calling for a “common candidate” of the “living forces of the left,” and says that he regrets the “division.” In the name of this approach, the leadership of the PCF has refused to involve the party and its activists in the campaign of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was the candidate for the Left Front in the presidential election of 2012.

France witnessed a wave of intense class struggle earlier this year with the strikes and mass protests against the government’s new law on labour relations. The law was eventually passed in July and the movement died down, but now the working class and youth is preparing to move from the trade union front to the political.

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