Why do the French elections matter?

Why does the presidency of France matter? Germany and France were the reason why the European Union was created and they are its driving force. After leaving the UK, France is the second largest economy and the only nuclear power in the EU.. And in France, the President of the Republic has a power that transcends its national borders.

The french head of state is not a mere representative or arbitration figure, the foreign and defense policies. In other words, the French decide this April who has the only nuclear button in the European Union, and what model of the EU they will promote. If the polls are correct, there is there is a good chance that the chosen one will be from the extreme right.

The normalization of the vote for Le Pen

Exactly 20 years ago the commotion that caused Jean-Marie LePen transcended France. When everyone assumed that the final tiebreaker in the elections would be between the president Jacques Chirac and the socialist Lionel Josephthe dispersion of the left-wing vote left Jospin in the gutter and the founder of the National Front and father of the current candidate went to the second round.

French society reacted by voting en masse against Le Pen, who received less than 18% of the vote. Fifteen years later, in 2017, his daughter almost doubled the result with 34% against Emmanuel Macron. This year the polls have come to give it more than 45% in a hypothetical second edition of that final. Twenty years later, Marine Le Pen is not as scary as her father.

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“Since 2007 Marine Le Pen has had a strategy to conquer power. His father’s was to turn the French political system upside down, deep down he didn’t want to come to power. But Marine wants the power, and to be elected in France you need to exceed 50% in the second round, have about 18 million votes. Therefore their strategy is to be less radicalSays Pierre Mathiot, Director of Political Science at the University of Lille, to whom I also went in 2002 to analyze the Le Pen phenomenon in Weekly report.

This Marine Le Pen process is known in France as “de-demonization” of the National Front, the party founded by his father. Marine has changed its name, it is now the National Rassamblement, she has abandoned anti-Semitic and revisionist positions of her father, and It is no longer considered taking France out of the EU or the euro. He maintains his tough policy against insecurity and immigration, but expresses it in a more nuanced way. That Le Pen moderation strategy has had an unexpected help in the form of competition.

Zeta. By Eric Zemmour

Until Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, what rocked the election campaign was Éric Zemmour, a writer, polemicist, talk show host who has become famous on a private channel of the conservative Bolloré empire. Zemmour stands for the first time in an election and does so with a speech to the right by Marine Le Pen.

Zemmour is running for the first time in an election, and he does so with a speech to the right of Marine Le Pen. REUTERS REUTERS / GONZALO SOURCES

You don’t hear French spoken, the women wear veils and the men wear long smocks

Flag the Great Substitution conspiracy theory (The Grand Replacement) by Renaud Camus, according to which France -and Europe- is being replaced by an Islamic invasion that will end Christian culture. “Do you really feel that way?” I ask three 20-year-old members of Génération Z (from Zemmour) in the report, “Yes. Yes, of course. There are more and more places in France that are not France. You don’t hear French spoken, the women wear veils and the men wear long smocks”. Émeline, 23, explains that she went over to Zemmour precisely because Marine Le Pen deviated from her father’s positions, “I don’t understand her – she says – that interest in centering the match”.

Zemmour has a double effect on Le Pen. A negative one because she takes away votes like Émeline’s, and a positive one, in contrast to Zemmour, the vote for Marine Le Pen is today much more digestible for French society. The most consistent trend in the polls has been Emmanuel Macron as the most voted candidate in the first and second round, and in second position, Marine Le Pen. If they are correct, the same final as in 2017 will be repeated and on April 24 the French will have to choose between five more years of President Macron or the first female president, Marine Le Pen. If the polls are correct.

Has France gone far right? Where is the left?

These are two questions to which the report by On the front page look for answer. 20 years ago Jean-Marie Le Pen’s unexpected victory was a shock. To prevent the unimaginable, a president of the extreme right, the same French who gave President Chirac only 19.8% of the vote in the first round, re-elected him with 82.2% in the second.

Five years ago They also mobilized to prevent Marine Le Pen from reaching the Elysee, but less so. And the margin was lower, 66% – 34%. One could no longer speak of a marginal vote.

This year Even less. Always according to the polls, the margin between victory and defeat in the event of a Macron-Le Pen ending is narrow. If Marine Le Pen is elected President of the French Republic it will no longer be a surprise, let alone a shock.

Those same opinion polls indicate a notable rise in the abstention, above 30%, which in a presidential election would be a historic disaffection. Abstention, the polarization of the vote and the division of the left contribute to the electoral rise of the extreme right. But also an uncomfortable reality for the left.

In that Weekly report twenty years ago a phenomenon appeared that has been consolidated and not only in France: former leftist voters have gone over to the extreme right. Because they have felt abandoned by the left when they have governed and because the extreme right has filled that void in their speeches and campaigns. Their perception is that the left has stopped caring about them and now the far right is. The place in France where this evolution is most evident is the Nord region and Pas de Calais, where this On the front page.

elections at war

It is the title of this report. On the front page because the war in Ukraine that President Putin started on February 24 has disrupted the French electoral campaign. The president and candidate Emmanuel Macron has practically not campaigned official, and has been used extensively as a mediator with Putin. He has done it as president of France and semi-annual of the EU. Macron trusts in the same thing that his competitors criticize him for, that this profile of president in times of war reinforces his re-election options.

The invasion of Ukraine has been a setback that, above all, three candidates have had to face. On the left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and, on the far right, Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour. The latter two have repeatedly praised the figure of Vladimir Putin as a model. Le Pen, in addition, owes eight million euros since 2014 to a bank close to the Kremlin.

The first round in France It takes place just one week after the elections in Hungary that have given a new mandate to Viktor Orbán, a prominent element of an alliance of nationalist leaders of which Marine Le Pen is a part.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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