Jean Luc Mélenchon , the left wing anti-austerity candidate for the French presidency has announced that he will be a candidate against Marine Le Pen, the right wing National Front Presidential candidate who holds a national Assembly seat in the 11th district of Pas- de- Calais. Mélenchon is running in order to sharpen the focus in the media and in French society on the threat of the ultra right wing in France and elsewhere in Europe. This will be a very interesting clash which on the numbers Mélenchon has a good chance of winning. In Greece failing a last minute hail Mary agreement brought about in special talks with the Greek President taking place tomorrow it now seems very likely that Greece will go to a second round of elections in an effort to achieve results that will result in a coalition government. In such a second election there is a good chance that the left wing Coalition will gain further support and seats.
That might put in doubt Greece continuing its membership in the euro unless the European leadership softens its austerity stance and require the introduction of a new drachma which although initially quite disruptive would eventually help Greece to recover provided it declared a moratorium for some period of time on the excessive austerity and a respite for a period of time paying off its creditors. Imports are about 30% of the Greek GDP so the impact of a new currency would likely mean some initially serious price adjustment. But as export prices fell Greece would attract more customers and tourists at the then cheaper exchange rate and recovery could begin.
It would be better if European elites would read some history and end their austerity obsession and soften their demands but failing that there are some alternatives. The head of the Coalition of the Left,known in Greek as Syriza, Alexis Tsipras has written to the top Euro zone officials a letter explaining his objections to the austerity program, asking for a re-examination of the logic behind the program. We shall see what their response, if any, is in the coming days.