Toned down and softened her words, and reduced her image, to the point where she rejected the far-right qualification: Marine Le Pen, who is seeking a third supreme court in France, is reaping the fruits of a long strategy of “de-demonization”, even if it is at the bottom, especially with regard to immigration , its program has not changed.
Chances of the youngest daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, 53, a historical and sullen figure of the French far-right, who faces Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential election, look more dire than they did in 2017.
With 23.15% of the vote in the first round, the girl improved from her previous result (21.30% in 2017) and far outperformed her father’s score – nearly 17% – in 2002 against Jacques Chirac. But if the far-right’s qualification in the second round was an earthquake in French political life 20 years ago, today it is almost “normal”. The fruit of the strategy patiently led by Marine Le Pen.
Trained as a lawyer, she built her regional presence in the north of the country, won long to the left, then took over Jean-Marie Le Pen’s party, the National Front, in early 2011, gradually pushing aside the old. The barons, patiently dismantling what the patriarch built through anti-Semitism or racial suffocation, sometimes even condemned in court.
The “de-demonization” of the front went so far as to disqualify the father in 2015, whose remarks were too divisive to allow for a national victory. “I fell in love with this guy,” she says. I fought a lot for it, but at some point it had to stop. “
The notoriously infamous FN became “National Rally” in 2018, and has since campaigned under its first name, Marine, as well as its fiercely coveted moniker.
After her failure in 2017, and a disastrous electoral debate between two rounds in which her unwillingness and protectionism was shown in the face of Emmanuel Macron, Ms. Le Pen patiently recovered and refined her rhetoric.
During a new duel with Emmanuel Macron last Wednesday, this time she resisted better.
Essentially, ‘national preference’ has become ‘national priority’, the issue of purchasing power has taken precedence over issues of immigration and identity, and there is no longer any official question regarding exit from France..from the European Union.
Elle a brouillé les lignes, se proclamant “meilleur bouclier” des Français juifs, rendant hommage à Charles de Gaulle que l’extrême droite haïssait, arborant République et laïcité en étendard contre “le fondamentistalisgeant”, islamvec Republic”.
On the figure, this mom of three, divorced twice, has hoarded her aggressiveness, engaged in the intimate TV trust game, and nurtured her love for cats. She pretends to be a united candidate for “Quiet France” against the president of “Anarchy” Emmanuel Macron.
Initially concerned that another far-right candidate, Eric Zemmour, had already tapped into the radical and obscene rhetoric of the earlier debate. By reframing her identity and anti-immigration and anti-Islam themes, Zemmour (7% in the first round) helped refocus the image of Ms. Le Pen, who campaigned on purchasing power, which had been a primary concern of the French during the war. In Ukraine it caused prices to rise.
However, the change is just a facade, many analysts believe. “Its program has hardly changed the basics of the National Front such as immigration and national identity, but it has chosen other vocabulary to justify it,” estimates for example Cecile Aldoy, a specialist on the far right.
At the immigration level, its program has been “hardening” since 2010, according to a recent study by the Jean Jaures Foundation.
Marine Le Pen plans for 2022 to include in the constitution a “national priority” that will deprive foreigners of many advantages. It also wants, like Eric Zemmour, to expel illegal immigrants, criminals, delinquent aliens, suspected of extremism as well as foreigners who have been out of work for more than a year.
It wants to include in the constitution the primacy of French law over international law – which would put France in a potentially untenable position vis-à-vis Europe – and intends to ban the wearing of the headscarf in public, punishable by a fine.
Internationally, opponents accuse Marine Le Pen of being complacent about Putin’s Russia despite its condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine. She supports the idea of ”establishing Russia in Europe”, so that this country does not go into the arms of China. The candidate, who has forged personal ties with Russia, also established close ties with so-called populist leaders in Central Europe, including Hungary’s Viktor Orban.