French Communist Party Votes to Support Melenchon for President

France’s Communist Party members voted to back Jean-Luc Melenchon in the 2017 presidential election, a key step in the former Socialist’s effort to win power next year.

In total 53.6 percent of those who voted agreed to back Melenchon, the Communist Party said on its website.

The 65 year-old former education minister won 11 percent of the vote in the first round of the 2012 presidential election. Heading into the 2017 race, some polls show him with about as much support as incumbent President Francois Hollande.

The Communist endorsement is key for Melenchon because it buttresses his own organization and will help provided the 500 signatures of elected officials that are needed to become a presidential candidate in France.