Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are headed to a May 7th runoff in the race to be the next president of France. Young Voices Advocate Bill Wirtz is a Law student at the Université de Lorraine in Nancy, France and recently co-write a piece in the Washington Examiner on European populism and why it is appealing to conservatives.
With the French Socialist Party tearing itself apart, and the low-income electorate practically up for grabs, Marine Le Pen can confidently believe the polls that comfortably put her in the second round of the presidential vote this June. However, it’s not all good news as her conservative rival François Fillon can count on the middle class vote, especially social conservatives who want less regulation, a thinner public sector, restricted immigration and tougher drug laws. Fillon will also likely have support from the traditional left, who will undoubtedly support him over the National Front candidate.
The 2017 race will likely be uneventful, giving Marine Le Pen an audience for her cause but not an electorate to win. The road to the 2022 election will thus be a long, five years in which party infighting could dethrone her and make way for a younger alternative, her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen.
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen first entered politics in 1992 at age two, when she featured in a campaign poster alongside her grandfather, far-right icon and founder of the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Despite her early introduction to politics, Marion Le Pen’s childhood experiences made it seem unlikely that she would join the National Front.
Continue reading at Reaction.
In the upcoming French presidential election, Marine Le Pen will likely face off against main contender François Fillon, a center-right free market reformer. François Fillon is the true conservative, a candidate who is proposing economically sound reforms, is distrustful of government, and appeals to common human decency.
Marine Le Pen instead wants to prevent free movement of goods and people, plans to withdraw from trade pacts, and is fixated with increasing state control of the economy. Her policy proposals ironically echo those of the French Communist Party of the 1950s and 1960s. French conservatives should therefore remember what conservatism means, and French liberals ought to unite with the center-right for the greater national good — just as they did in 2002 when they voted to stop Le Pen’s father.
The French economy has many structural problems that threaten both future French prosperity and the survival of the Euro currency and European Union. French voters have a rare chance to address some of those long-standing issues with a dose of basic economics and fiscal realism. The alternative would be the twin dangers posed by Le Pen’s National Front: an ethnic and economic nationalism that would threaten civil liberties and worsen the economy rather than restore it.
Continue reading at Reaction.
Le Pen’s National Front is living off the same media coverage advantages that Donald Trump profited off in the Republican primaries.
The French presidential election has been taking on speed in recent weeks: former Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron is running as an independent, Thatcher-admiring François Fillon won the Republican primary, former president Nicolas Sarkozy left French politics after losing his primary, and incumbent president François Hollande announced he will not stand for re-election in 2017 as Prime Minister Manuel Valls resigned in order to prepare his own presidential bid.
Meanwhile, France’s National Front is working hard to ensure that Marine Le Pen qualifies for the second round presidential vote in April 2017. Le Pen’s platform is that of hard-line protectionism: taxing imports and subsidizing the local economy, leaving the European Union, and bringing back the French Franc as a currency.
The National Front also suggests lowering the retirement age to 60, changing the election law to proportional representation (which would favor themselves), limitingimmigration to only 10,000 people a year, deporting not only illegal immigrants but also all foreigners who have committed a crime, and indicated that children of foreign criminals should not benefit from the education system. This policy of “national priority” paired with a hard-left economic policy is nothing short of actual national socialism. The far-right party has complained that unfair coverage by the “establishment” and “left-wing” media is undermining their efforts.
Continue reading at FEE.