French Communist Party: 'Happy Days for France'
French Communist Party's presidential candidate seeks to attract apathetic young voters, as well as those who have turned to the far-right party.
France's Communist Party (PCF) aims to return to its glory days in the upcoming presidential election and win back voters who have shifted to the right.
For its campaign, the party picked the slogan: "Happy Days for France" -- in reference to a French Resistance manifesto during World War II, from which it emerged as France's biggest party.
PCF Head Fabien Roussel, 52, is the first Communist candidate in a presidential campaign in 15 years, with the party hoping to back hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon in the past two elections instead of fielding a candidate of its own.
The Communists' promise of happiness comes to face the vows of anti-immigration populist candidate Eric Zemmour, who has monopolized much of the media attention in the race so far.
"Our program deserves a larger audience," Roussel told AFP at the party's headquarters in Paris.
"We need to talk about happiness and how change is possible, after being told for years by various governments that we need to make more efforts, that we need to tighten our belts," he added.
Nationalization of big banks
During the Covid crisis, the state's willingness to mobilize huge sums to save the economy showed that "there is plenty of money around," Roussel indicated.
But instead of "that money going to multinationals," he said, "we want it to be used in the service of the people" -- mostly in the shape of pay rises for low-income professions including nurses and teachers.
Roussel's program calls for the nationalization of big banks -- including BNP Paribas, the EU's biggest -- and of energy giants TotalEnergies and Engie.
The candidate's team says their candidate needs to attract apathetic young voters, as well as those on the left who have turned to Marine Le Pen's nationalist far-right RN party.
"Our challenge is to win back those hearts and minds," Ian Brossat, Roussel's campaign manager and a deputy mayor for Paris, told AFP.