'Sarkozy and Hollande are almost certain to be the finalists, but polls say Sarkozy is behind Hollande by a substantial margin. Meanwhile, Hollande, who has soared in popularity as he has made increasingly ludicrous promises to the French people about reversing austerity and opening the floodgates of government spending, is getting pressure from his left in the person of a comically retro figure named Jean-Luc Melenchon, who wants to party like it's 1789.
Voters love it when Mélenchon, running on the Left party ticket, talks about simply confiscating all individual income above 360,000 Euros a year, leads a symbolic "march on the Bastille" (which was torn down more than two centuries ago) and calls his supporters "sans-culottes" after the Revolution's notorious bloodthirsty peasants. His fans, noted a Sunday Times reporter, were baffled at a rally when he started referring to April as "Germinal," in a nod to the wacky Revolutionary calendar that renamed all the months. He advocates an increase in public spending of more than $150 billion, a minimum-wage hike of more than 50 percent, a referendum on the EU austerity package agreed to in March, and the illegalization of worker layoffs at profitable firms. Lately he has doubled his support, to 15 percent.'
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