Marine Le Pen: Who is the far-right candidate trying to gain power in France – 04/23/2022

Marine Le Pen brought the National Rally within walking distance of the European Head of State

Marine Le Pen’s trip brings the French radical right closer to the presidency.

Even after taking over the leadership of the party National Assembly (National Rally) From her father in 2011, she has spent years trying to strike the balance deemed necessary to transform an extremist force into a group that believes it is on the brink of power.

Le Pen’s policy proposals on immigration and the idea of ​​prioritizing homes and jobs for French citizens are still considered radical right projects, but the woman who leads the renewed party conveys an accessible and moderate populist image.

“Yes, I am a professional cat breeder and farmer,” she told France International in January.

Le Pen has six cats and they appear in her TikTok videos and even in a private account that she keeps on Instagram.

When political scientist Chloe Morin asked a panel of Lille voters last year about Le Pen’s photo, it was the cats that stood out. After all, who wouldn’t trust a cat fan?

They may seem more moderate, but the policies they adopt are no less radical on issues such as immigration, citizenship, and Islam. Emmanuel Macron, the current president and opponent in the second round of elections, says her government’s platform is racist.

James Shields, Professor of French Studies at the University of Warwick in the UK, knows that racist and anti-Semitic references are behind us, but the old anti-immigration and authoritarian law and order measures of Le Pen’s old father’s party remain in practice. without change.

On the eve of the elections, scheduled for Sunday (24/4), Le Pen is trailing by a few points in the opinion polls, after a televised debate against Macron.

The current scenario is very different from what it was five years ago, when she was unprepared and looked dazed during the pre-election debate, in which Macron won two-thirds of the vote.

family drama

In 2022, Marine Le Pen was already doing better than her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, reaching the second round with an anti-immigration and law and order podium. In previous elections, he was defeated because 82% of voters considered the policies advocated by the then-candidate toxic.

Jean Marie was a man who, since 1987, had repeatedly spoken of the Nazi gas chambers and the Holocaust as “details from World War II history” and was widely accused of anti-Semitism.

This year’s campaign carried the slogans “Chief of the Navy” and “For all the French people”. There is no allusion to Le Pen’s nickname in these ads. Marker cleaning is almost complete.

She was eight years old when she first realized who her father was, having survived the 1976 bombing that badly damaged the family’s apartment in central Paris.

In her autobiography, Le Pen recalls how she and her two older sisters were on their knees, trembling and holding hands, when they heard their father shouting, “Girls, girls, are you alive?”

Subsequently, colleagues were instructed not to approach them: “A ‘health line’ has been established around us: do not approach Le Pens.”

Then, when she was sixteen, her mother Bert eloped with her father’s biographer. For a teenager, this was a traumatic moment that brought her even closer to her father’s personality.

In his 2011 autobiography, he wrote: “For a month and a half I vomited every day. I could not feed myself.”

Those formative years gave him the tough exterior that Le Pen is known for. The smile you flash to photographers rarely lasts more than a few seconds.

“After everything she went through in her youth, she made a coincidence,” her friend, Steve Brewa, told the BBC. He remains a staunch ally, as mayor of Hénin-Beaumont in northern France.

Lawyer for illegal immigrants

Le Pen graduated in law from one of the best colleges in Paris in the early 1990s, working on behalf of defendants who could not afford a lawyer. This may sometimes include illegal immigrants. When asked about this later, she said she saw no contradiction: “They are human beings and they have rights, and you can’t blame them for the immigration policy.”

“I admire the way she has kept her calm and managed to maintain normal professional relationships despite being burdened by her father’s bad reputation,” says Paris-based lawyer Basile Adair.

In 1998, Le Pen’s career was not developing. And the fact that other classmates boycotted her because of her father’s politics didn’t help matters.

Six years later, she left the practice of law to take the highest position in the legal department of the National Rally Party.

After the career change, complaints of nepotism arose, but in 2004 she was elected to the European Parliament and remained there for 13 years.

Disagreement with father

Even before assuming the position of leader of the National Assembly, it was clear that she had doubts about some of her father’s unpleasant ideas about Nazi history.

When, in 2005, Jean-Marie Le Pen told a magazine that the German occupation of France “was not inhumane, even if there were some spots,” she thought about letting the deputy leadership of the party leave. Her advisor, Bruno Bild, believes that deep down she was considering leaving politics.

The father’s fate was finally decided when he received only 10% of the vote in 2007. Within four years, Marine Le Pen was in charge of the party.

During the campaign for the election of a leader, the future face of the National Rally was already infuriating. She told her supporters in Lyon, France, that the sight of Muslims praying in the street resembled that of the Nazi occupation. First came “more and more veils”, then “more and more burqas”. He said at the time that there were no tanks or soldiers, “but it’s still an occupation and it’s a burden on people.”

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy called it “radical right with a human face”. At the time, she was finally acquitted of inciting hatred.

Le Pen then sought to weed out some of his father’s older supporters, many of whom shared a sympathetic view of the French regime that had collaborated with the Nazis in World War II.

But funding from a far-right party was still poor in France, and it went to Russia for 11 million euros in loans in the same year that Vladimir Putin seized land in Ukraine. It even supported the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Since then, Le Pen has focused on criticizing what she sees as a threat to French life: “Islamization”, globalization, the European Union and the euro. With these flags, it ranked third in the 2012 presidential election.

In 2017, the national assembly was run by young, skilled professionals running YouTube channels and attracted support across France. The party scored victories in local, regional, and European elections, including winning Jewish and Muslim supporters.

Although she was defeated by Emmanuel Macron in the presidential run-off, she attracted 7.7 million votes.

Does it detoxify the radical right?

Five years later, Le Pen can claim to have made the party more civil, with a softer kind of National Rally and offer a realistic alternative to a president accused of being far from ordinary people.

“I will rule the country like a mother, without extravagance and with common sense,” Le Pen promises to voters as he walks through the market. Most of her campaign has focused on raising the cost of living.

“The national assembly program still focuses on the basic principle of National priorityor priority for French citizens in jobs, housing, social benefits, and health care,” as assessed by James Shields.

Le Pen may no longer advocate leaving the European Union, but her platform will set France on a collision course that will end in de facto exit, the professor believes.

For French Muslims, Le Pen’s proposal to ban headscarves in public is even more troubling.

When a veiled retiree appealed to Le Pen last week to leave Muslims alone, the candidate said that in some neighborhoods, women felt compelled to wear the hijab to avoid prosecution.

Ms. Fatima explained that she only wore the hijab when she was older, to confirm that she was a grandmother.

Le Pen is accused by her rival of campaigning only in areas where it is popular. But when protesters shouted “fascist” and asked her to leave, she did her best to keep smiling, claiming that the stronger the reaction, the higher her chance of winning the election.

If she wins, her father, Jean-Marie, will surely be proud. But it continues to emphasize the “thousands” of differences between them.

“He was the head of a movement that originally emerged as a protest and then turned into opposition,” he explains.

“I organized my team’s work so we could get in [no governo] We put our ideas into practice.”

Did you know that the BBC is also on Telegram? Subscribe in the channel.

Have you seen our new videos on Youtube? Subscribe to our channel!

Leave a Comment