Marine Le Pen. Image ©Reuters
Marine Le Pen and Francois Fillon look set to fight out the battle for the Presidency of La Republique de France.
Fillon, the Republican (centre-right) candidate is no surprise; for months he has been the odds-on favourite to win, following his party’s primaries in November 2016 when he defeated Nikolas Sarkozy, the former President.
François Fillon. Image ©Guru Images
Socialist President, Francois Hollande, confirmed that he would not stand for re-election amid dismal popularity ratings. Former investment banker Emmanuel Macron, who until recently was Mr Hollande’s economy minister, plans to stand as an independent. Young, at 39, and relatively inexperienced, the former Rothschild’s banker is an outside chance.
Emmanuel Macron. Image ©PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images
Manuel Valls has stood down as Prime Minister in order to put himself forward as the Socialist Party candidate.
Manuel Valls. Image ©Reuters
Le Pen was not expected to be quite so prominent a candidate until recently. She has grown ever stronger according to the polls and, though Fillon has a substantial advantage in anticipated voting, the French could provide another election surprise.
What has brought about this rise in popularity to the extent of electability?
The National Front (Le Front National or ‘FN’) was founded in 1972 to unify a variety of French nationalist movements of the time. Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, was the party’s leader until his resignation in 2011. Marine was subsequently elected as leader. She has softened the party, even to the extent of expelling her father.
In the 2014 European Parliamentary Elections FN won 24 of France’s 74 seats, more than any other party. It was the first time the party had won a nationwide election in its four-decade history.
Marine Le Pen has clearly shifted the politics of the party into a centre-right position, rendering it more electable than ever.
What does Le Pen stand for?
For many, Le Front National remains firmly anchored on the far-right: xenophobic, authoritarian, not so much modernised as de-odourised – and France still needs to hold its nose. Has Marine Le Pen really moved so far from the shadow of her father’s influence?
The other side of the same coin would say that FN is standing against the incessant tide of intolerable immigration, the de-Frenchifying of France and the intolerance for French national values. France for the French!
Some notable points:
First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB) in Moscow loaned in €9million to FN in 2014.
Le Pen described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “defender of the Christian heritage of European civilisation”.
Le Pen’s rhetoric has cast the USA as the major threat to world peace.
Over the past two years every notable national election has seen the retention of the incumbent or a shift to the right.
Immigration is one of the headline issues. European countries like France, Germany, the UK, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and others have felt the brunt of an enormous influx of Middle Eastern refugees. They do not mind receiving refugees, by and large. The French in particular, have a huge number of Algerians and other African nationals following the turmoil of the sixties.
The ‘Islamification’ of Europe holds different fears. Many feel that the Muslims arriving now represent a Trojan horse; the threat of Shariah Law and the terrorist attacks of Paris and Nice herald a permanent state of mistrust. Who would welcome such guests in their homeland?
With evidence of US/UK collusion in the Syrian crisis mounting, the appetite for refugees is diminishing. The FN is waving the banner of France for the French and the preservation of French cultural and social values.
The French do not tend to stand on ceremony, waiting and hoping.
Le Pen is not only anti-EU, she would also like to see the return of the Franc. She frequently refers to Brexit as an inspiration for a more independent France.
As Chancellor Merkel appears to be losing the confidence of her electorate, the Germans will be looking very closely at the developments. The Mark would be a blessed relief for many. Corporations run countries, not politicians.
Brexit and the election of Trump surprised many. They also paved a clearer and more feasible path for Le Pen.
One aside upon the whole scenario is that should Le Pen win the Presidency of France, there will be a lot of Israel supporters realising that their fight, backed by the US, is against a Russo-Euro Alliance. China will not be on Israel’s side.
The first round of the French Presidential election will be held on Sunday, April 23rd 2017.
France’s next President will be elected in a run-off between the top two candidates on Sunday, May 7th 2017.