Antonio Monteiro, then ambassador to Paris, insisted in 2002 that he attend a rally for Jacques Chirac to show which side Portugal was on in that second round of the French presidential election, in which he was for the first time a far-right candidate. Participation in the case of Jean-Marie Le Pen. The diplomat asked for permission from the Portuguese government, at the time led by José Manuel Durao Barroso, and had no trouble getting the green light. For reasons ranging from anti-immigrant rhetoric to the threat to leave the European Union, the ideals of Father Le Pen cannot but displease the Portuguese. They were also very upset with the French themselves, as Chirac was re-elected with 82%, with the votes of his right-wing Gaullist supporters backed by millions more from the left. The so-called Republican Front worked as expected, forming a barrier to the old radical politician.
“Impressive,” Emmanuel Macron has now responded to Antonio Costa’s article supporting his re-election. The text has been published in several European newspapers, including Le Monde, and the text has been signed by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Chancellor Olaf Schulz. Three politicians from the Socialist/Social Democratic region claim to see in Macron, a liberal with strong pro-European convictions, the only option for the French in a presidential election like today, where the alternative is Marine Le Pen, is not so far removed from the ideas of the father despite the efforts of renewal .
But if the daughter and the father were not so different, the truth is that in this effort of renewal or normalization, Marine Le Pen changed the name of the party from Front Nacional to Reunion Nacional. The father was forced to leave the scene, but he is also 93 years old and in fragile health, and there was an effort to put in the trash, especially the fascist and anti-Semitic ideas that were a legacy of a certain France in the first half of the twentieth century, the half that preferred after the surrender In World War II Marshal Pétain cooperated with Nazi Germany on General de Gaulle and the pro-Allied Free France. It is not even certain whether today Marin sees the support of Jean-Marie useful, even if he says that his daughter would make a “shiny” president. She knows that the voices she lacks must come from other areas, not from her father’s nostalgia.
If Jean-Marie Le Pen got 18% in 2002, Marine Le Pen got almost 34% in 2017. Macron, a former minister in a socialist but far more right-wing government than the PSF, crushed her, but the Republican Front did not. It has the strength of 15 years earlier. This time polls predict more than 40% for the far-right candidate, and some more than 45%, which means that normalization is paying off and that there are a lot of gaps in the Republican front. In particular, voters for Jean-Luc Melenchon, a leftist who nearly beat Le Pen’s daughter in the race for second place on the first lap on April 10, are not enthusiastic about Macron and are divided between those who would support him even as they held their noses at the time of going to the polls and those who would prefer to stay. On the couch. By comparison, 20 years ago, the Chirac-Le Pen duel lowered the voter turnout in the second round, as many people realized that staying at home was irresponsible. Today, with the traditional parties in crisis, everything is more ambiguous in the behavior of voters and the malaise on the part of the French that made this third presence of the far right in the presidential run-off in 2022 the first to be expected.
Like the Portuguese ambassador in 2002, Prime Minister Antonio Costa cannot vote in the French presidential election but wants to give a signal. Hence the opinion piece to encourage French voters to mobilize and leave their homes. Nobody is talking about interfering in the affairs of another country because in reality much more than the fate of France is at stake. A serious analysis of Le Pen’s program shows treatments incapable of curing French social ills, and which, admittedly, sometimes make a good prognosis. In an editorial in the edition dated Saturday, Jerome Vignoglio, director of Le Monde newspaper, said Marine Le Pen’s solution to the social housing shortage was to cancel half a million lease contracts for foreign legal residents, which the journalist emphasized, either would not be done or, if done Done, it is done with such brutality that it goes against all the values of France. Just thinking about the number of Portuguese living in France, and despite the praise given by the far right for their integration, unlike the Arabs, what Ambassador Antonio Monteiro felt was very clear.
Contrary to what the father says, the daughter is far from smart, and anyone who watched this week’s televised debate with Macron had a clear idea of each candidate’s competencies. But even taking into account some disastrous thoughts regarding domestic politics, it is Le Pen’s foreign policy that should worry us above all else. After all, France is one of the founders of the European Union in 1957, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a nuclear power, and today it is the only one out of 27.
The promise to leave the joint command of NATO could become relative, if we think it was a decision by de Gaulle and was reversed only in 2009 by Nicolas Sarkozy, but it is clear that in the current context of the war in Europe, with the Atlantic alliance supporting Ukraine To some extent, this measure will open the pavilion in favor of Russia. And the obvious bet on partnership with Moscow, made for the time being, would leave France isolated and her European and American peers desolate, not least because an attraction to the Russians goes hand in hand with a distrust of the Germans. And yes, with Le Pen, a Franco-German axis capable of promoting European construction would be an illusion. When she talks about the European Union, even if she appears to have given up on Brexit (the so-called “Frexit”, the sequel to Brexit), the French far-right candidate makes no secret of her sovereignty, or the ultra-nationalist vision, that helped within this remarkable organization that existed 65 years ago. Which, in addition to democracy and prosperity, would prevent war from returning to Europe, at least to Western Europe.
Yesterday, in DN, Tara Varma, Head of the Paris Department of the European Council on Foreign Relations, nicely summed up what is at stake in the French elections: “Marine Le Pen, the president, will seek to form the alliance with Hungary, and then the Paris-Budapest-Moscow axis, which It would be detrimental to both European construction and European foreign policy. This alliance would have the goal of transforming the EU from within, adapting the agenda to the national priorities of the two leaders and would threaten the progress made in recent months. Above all, what is worrisome is the encouragement that these elections will create between Member states that were reluctant to impose more sanctions on Russia may find in Marine Le Pen an ally to lift these sanctions, which would destroy the European and transatlantic unity in support of Ukraine that has been preserved for the past two months. Europe would be disastrous.
Polls say Macron should win. In the end, Le Pen will be nothing more than panic. But even this increased advantage for the president could backfire, due to those still hesitating between staying on the couch and saving France and the European Union.