1 He is not part of ‘the political elite’
The son of a postman and housewife, he left high school without a diploma and scraped a living with a series of precarious jobs before landing a work contract with a Ford factory in the mid-90s, where he quickly became involved in union activism’.
However this is his third presidential bid and he is currently a local politician in the southern French city of Bordeaux.
He’s very far from wealthy though, the obligatory declaration of assets for all presidential candidates showed that his highest-value possession is his car – a Peugeot 308.
2 He wants to abolish the presidency
Poutou wants to abolish the very position he is seeking to win – the French presidency.
In his manifesto, Poutou also calls for the abolition of the Senate and the creation of a sixth Republic, whereby decisions are made through exercises in direct democracy, such as referenda.
This is a significant step forward from his last election bids where he argued for moving to a purely parliamentary system.
“We cannot finish with capitalism in the framework of institutions conceived of to preserve it,” he wrote.
3 He has been an activist for years
As a staunch anti-capitalist, Poutou has been an activist for many years, beginning in high school.
He shot to national prominence for his role as a trade unionist in 2007. At the time, the Ford factory in Gironde was set to close, but Poutou led negotiations to keep it open saving close to 1,000 jobs.
He joined the yellow vest movement in 2018-19, describing it as “an expression of discontent against a profoundly unjust society.”
4 TV debates are his strong point
In 2017, many media commentators identified Poutou as one of the strongest performers in the televised debate before the election.
He is happy to throw around phrases accusing his opponents of being “corrupt politicians disconnected from reality.”
During the debate, he told the moderators: “It’s not because I don’t have a tie that you have to interrupt me.”
Criticising Marine Le Pen who had refused to appear before a judge citing parliamentary immunity.
“When we are summoned by the police, we don’t have workers’ immunity,” he said.
Poutou refused to pose for a photo with the other candidates before programme started.
5 He is currently a city councillor in Bordeaux
Poutou failed to win the French presidency in 2012 and 2017, scoring less than 2 percent of the first-round vote both times.
After being fired from his job at a car factory in 2019, he stood in municipal elections in Bordeaux where he had greater electoral success, becoming a city councillor.
“We have succeeded in making the social anger heard and showing that Bordeaux is not a bourgeois city,” he said upon winning his seat.
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