“Deflate the balloon”, “opportunism” … Why is Mélenchon now arguing with Zemmour?

“I see this debate as a fight. »Jean-Luc Mélenchon will face Eric Zemmour this Thursday evening during a debate organized by BFMTV. “I knew him to be a brilliant commentator and then I saw him fall apart. He has an idea of ​​the history of France which is sectarian […]. He is of the extreme right and embodies everything I have always fought, ”explained the candidate of France rebellious Monday evening on LCI. The two men will discuss security, economy, health, ecology and even immigration. But why does Jean-Luc Mélenchon accept a debate with the polemicist, after having long called for his boycott?

“We must deflate the Zemmour balloon”

Currently on a promotional tour for his book, Eric Zemmour travels the country to “meet the French”. The old feather of the Figaro, who no longer hides his presidential ambitions, is also very present in the media. “He is on all the TV shows, often without opponents. Zemmour is a candidate without saying it, he holds meetings, raises funds… He’s a hypocrite, ”slices MEP Manuel Bompard, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s campaign manager for the 2022 presidential election.“ It seemed essential to us to confront him, show that his vision of France is fantasized. We must deflate the Zemmour balloon. “

“You have to deconstruct your fantasies. Nobody does it effectively in the politico-media world, abounds Eric Coquerel, LFI deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis. It is the role of Jean-Luc Mélenchon to go and debate in front of the supporters of a racist and xenophobic ideology, and to oppose a republican project and a political vision of citizenship ”. The rebellious candidate also hopes to get the polemicist out of his comfort zone, by getting him to talk about other subjects than just identity themes. “We want to show that he has nothing to say on the social emergency, on the 10 million poor in our country, as on the climatic impasse”, adds Bompard.

“A way to relaunch your campaign”

But when Eric Zemmour is a hit during his media passages, the organization of the debate arouses the controversy on the left, from communists to socialists. Especially since the rebels have themselves long called for a boycott of the polemicist and the CNews channel, on which he has been officiating since October 2019. “We call that ‘scratching the buzz’. He sees a media bubble and maybe says to himself “this will suck me a bit into my campaign”. […] This debate is filthy. It is a political fault ”, tackled
Yannick Jadot on BFMTV. “Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been standing still in the polls for several months. He is looking for a way to relaunch his campaign, it is a form of opportunism, ”adds Alain Coulombel, spokesperson for EELV.

Among the supporters of the polemicist, this change of course makes you smile. “It is seen well enough from Mélenchon, to scratch a little buzz, assures the spokesperson of the association of Friends of Eric Zemmour, Antoine Diers. He noticed the broad support for Zemmour, and vainly and belatedly tries to contain his popular base. “

A thesis refuted by rebels. “We don’t see it as a debate, but as an assumed confrontation. When there is a fascist threat, we must not kick in touch ”, sweeps Eric Coquerel. “We didn’t want to go to Mr. Zemmour’s, on his show where he decides everything. But we are never hostile to a political confrontation on neutral ground ”, explains Manuel Bompard. But the rebellious recognizes it: “It is a political coup and a highlight in this start of the campaign. “

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