Le selfie? How gauche: Jean-Luc Melenchon poses with a fan. Photo: AFP

The surge in support for ultra-leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon to 19% in the French presidential polls from just 11.4% on March 13 shows how dangerous the French political situation has become. With 25% undecided before Sunday’s first round elections, the jump in support for a candidate who calls for an 100% tax rate on the rich indicates a nasty polarization in French society.

There are two risks. One is that National Front leader Marine Le Pen and Mélenchon win the first round, giving France a choice between an extreme right and extreme left who agree about leaving the European Union. Both also are friendly with Moscow.

The other is that Le Pen will face either the traditional conservative François Fillon or the synthetic centrist Emmanuel Macron with the likelihood that the left will support Le Pen rather than – as in the past – obediently align itself with the center in order to defeat the National Front. A Le Pen victory would mean the end of Europe’s institutions as we know them.

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