France’s communist candidate clones himself for rally
The French far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon appeared to supporters by hologram on Sunday at a campaign rally in Chassieu, near Lyon.
Published: February 6, 2017, 9:20 am
The hollow figure of a far-leftist was a technological first for a presidential campaign in France.
Melenchon was actually speaking in person near the central French city of Lyon, but also appeared to his surrogates in a concert hall 450 kilometres away in Aubervilliers, near Paris after a mere click of a button.
He melodramatically called the technology “a symbol of the inventiveness for the ode to the glory of the human mind that I want to pronounce”.
He is not the first politician to employ such technology. In 2014, Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan used a huge hologram of himself to heighten his presidential stature, while Narendra Modi evicerated his opposition with a campaign that included holograms of his speeches in villages across India.
The hologram of the politician and presidential hopeful went off without a technical hitch, although his voice sounded muffled.
Backed by the Communist party, the 65-year-old wants to change France’s presidential system for a parliamentary system, renegotiate EU treaties, and undo labour market reforms. He was in Lyon for his physical appearance, in an effort to counter rising star Marine Le Pen.
“I knew that Le Pen was staging her convention in Lyon. I have never accepted the normalisation of her party. Macron also decided to have his meeting in Lyon. I therefore wanted to demonstrate the three major ideological families of this country, the community politics of Mrs Le Pen, the liberalism and the ecological and social indifference of Mr Macron. And ours, universalist humanism.”
Both Len Pen and Melanchon are Eurosceptics and condemn globalisation, but they differ sharply on immigration.
Emmanuel Macron, the globalist banker, also launched his presidential bid for this year’s elections due in April, from Lyon.
The crowd in Paris rose to take pictures with their phones as the hologram candidate raged on, not only against Le Pen but also Macron, but many were more interested in the technical display than in his speech.
Everytime his image appeared, they cheered. “I only have myself as a clone, I know who the clones of others are!” he said.
Macron, a former investment banker and economy minister, pushed the unpopular reforms designed to make it easier to hire and fire workers. “Macron has ruined the lives of thousands of people,” Melenchon said.
Benoit Hamon, the radical leftwinger and Socialist candidate, has appealed to Melenchon to join him in a bid to avoid a humiliating exit for the Socialist in the first round.
“Everyone wants to abolish El Khomri [the labour law], including the Socialist candidate. I wonder what holds him back?” said Melanchon, who has between 11 and 11.5 percent support, according to Friday’s BVA poll. But Melenchon has already lost votes to Hamon.
The Socialists, weakened after the deeply unpopular presidency of Francois Hollande, have no chance of getting beyond the first round, according to several polls.
Melenchon supporters at the Paris hologram rally, told AFP they no longer had any confidence in the Socialist Party.
A Twitternaut remarked that Melenchon’s hologram clone appeared to pass through real figures on stage at the Paris meeting.
— Thibaut Le Gal (@LGThibaut) February 5, 2017
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