France could elect its first female president in history. Who is Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French extreme right?
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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This coming Sunday, April 24, the French will return to the polls to elect their next president in the second round. The two candidates are current President Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen's far-right opponent. Even though Macron starts as the biggest option, for now, a victory for Le Pen and his National Front is not out of the question. Who is the woman who could be the first female president in the history of France?
Marie Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, one of the most important figures in French politics. He was the president of the right-wing National Front party from its founding in 1972 until 2011 when he was replaced by Marie. He was critical of receiving any kind of migrants from outside Europe. Now, his daughter is close to achieving what Jean-Marie never could: the French presidency.
Marion Anne Le Pen (better known as Marine Le Pen) was born in the central town of Neuilly-sur-Seine. At 8 years old, she survived an attack against his father. Since she was 18 years old, she has been politically active, joining the party founded by her father, the National Front. Then, in 2010, she started a campaign for the leadership of the collective. Le Pen embraced the flags of a more moderate right that can reach victory.
She aspired to the French presidency for the first time in 2012, when he lost against François Hollande and Nicolás Sarkozy, obtaining 17.90% of the vote. She repeated his aspirations in 2017. She went to the second round with 21.3% of the votes along with Emmanuel Macron (24%). Later he lost with only 33.9% of national support against 66.1% of the current head of state.
Today she repeats his candidacy (with a change in the name of the party, today called National Regroupment) against the presidential candidate, Macron. In the first round, she obtained 23.1%, behind the 27.8% of the current president and only 1% above Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the LFI.
Scandals in Political Life
For the 2017 elections, her campaign found funding from banks and the Russian capital. This, even after Russia's invasion of Crimea and the sanctions that the West had imposed on Moscow. Similarly, in 2010 it was criticized for comparing the blockades of the streets for Muslim prayers with the Nazi occupation of France. Something that echoed in the memory of many French of her father and her denial positions.
Le Pen was also accused of allegedly spending European Parliament funds on her party. According to the European Parliament complaint, Le Pen diverted 5 million euros between 2012 and 2017, a period when she served as an MEP.
Her Political Stances
Although she has tried to "demonize" the Front National for her father's far-right stances, Marine Le Pen has also been the focus of controversial political stances.
She is considered one of the strongest figures of "Euroscepticism" or, as she calls it, "French nationalism". His arrival at the Elysee Palace would be one of the biggest blows to the European Union. A group of countries weakened after Brexit, the departure of Angela Merkel in Germany (and the lack of prominence of her successor), the war in Ukraine, and the migration crisis. Today, the figure of Emmanuel Macron is vital to the success of the European dream and Le Pen, her antithesis. It is also one of the strongest anti-Islamist voices in Europe and the possible "Islamization of the country". It has been a criticism of the use of the Islamic veil in public and by state officials. She has also advocated a Welfare State solely for the French.
On the other hand, it has been a staunch opponent of extra-European migration. She is also accused of his closeness to Russia and Vladimir Putin. On several occasions, both have received mutual compliments. Possibly, the desire for a divided Europe is a mutual interest. However, with the war in Ukraine, Marine has had to retract his positions and try to distance himself from the Russian president.