In her third attempt to reach the Élysée Palace, Marine Le Pen, 53, will run on April 24 in the second round of the election in France against the current president, Emmanuel Macron, who also defeated her in a second vote in 2017.
Although the centrist candidate received the most votes in the first round and leads the polls for the second with an advantage of between two and ten points (according to different surveys), the rightist has the best chance of her three presidential candidates to be elected: after not reach the second round in 2012, the gap now appears to be well below the more than 30 percentage points that separated her from Macron in the final contest five years ago.
Le Pen benefited this time from a speech focused on rising prices and the cost of living, major concerns of the French, and by softening the Eurosceptic and anti-immigration (especially against Muslims) speech that made her known.
However, this platform remains in its government program. Among other things, the candidate wants to limit the arrival of immigrants related to family connections and the right to asylum, ban the use of the Islamic veil in all public spaces and prioritize French citizens over foreigners and asylum seekers in housing programs and other public services.
In other points, however, Marine Le Pen has positions that may surprise (or disappoint) those who have an image of her already formed. Check out some of them:
She is Putin’s ally
Le Pen said he admired Russian President Vladimir Putin for “putting the interests of Russia and the Russian people first” in 2014, the same year that his party, the National Front (which from 2018 was renamed Regrouping Nacional), obtained loans totaling around 11 million euros from banks linked to the Kremlin.
Le Pen also claimed that Putin’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea was not illegal and that the plebiscite that approved the incorporation was an “incontestable” vote, which is not recognized by the West. In 2017, she called for sanctions on Russia to be lifted and visited Putin in the Kremlin.
However, fearing wear and tear due to the war that the Russian president started in February, Le Pen has been defending “the territorial integrity” of Ukraine and the reception of refugees from the former Soviet republic. He also supported sanctions over the invasion last month, but said they should not apply to Russian oil and gas.
She is pro-abortion
In a 2014 interview, Le Pen said that “no one can be happy” with an abortion and advocated the implementation of policies to help disadvantaged mothers during pregnancy, but did not oppose the legality of the procedure. “The prohibition [do aborto] is not the way”, he claimed.
Le Pen has advocated maintaining French legislation on abortion. The voluntary termination of pregnancy until the tenth week of pregnancy was legalized in the country in 1975. The limit was extended to 12 weeks in 2001 and to 14 weeks this year.
Convictions of Gazeta do Povo: Defense of life from conception
In 2016, her niece Marión Maréchal-Le Pen, who was a deputy in the French National Assembly, said that in an eventual presidency of her aunt, the legislation on abortion in France would be changed, but Marine and the party of both denied.
Florian Philippot, Le Pen’s 2017 campaign coordinator, told The Guardian that he feared young women would think the candidate intended to ban abortion. “It is totally false and harmful to our second round,” he said.
Your economic program is anything but conservative
In his five candidatures for the presidency of France, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, defended a right-wing economic agenda: free market and minimal state. Several of his daughter’s proposals in this area, however, are closer to the left.
Marine Le Pen wants to prioritize French products on government trading floors, reduce the minimum retirement age to 60 for those who started working before 20 and keep it at 62 for everyone else – Macron wants to raise it to 65. represents retirement at age 65? It’s something completely unfair,” she said, in an interview with BFM TV.
The candidate also wants to eliminate income tax for those under 30, reduce the energy tax from 20% to 5.5%, spend 2 billion euros over five years to increase the salaries of health workers and recruit more. 10,000 of them, in addition to increasing teachers’ salaries by 15% by 2027.
Macron claimed that his adversary’s program would create mass unemployment because it would alienate foreign investors and would not be sustained in budgetary terms.
Giving up on “Frexit” – but still Eurosceptic
A National Rally politician told Time magazine that a referendum to take France out of the European Union (the “Frexit”) is not being considered this time, but Le Pen’s antipathy to the bloc remains.
She intends to reduce France’s contributions to the EU and promote a coalition with countries ruled by politicians with whom she has an affinity, such as Hungary and Poland, ruled by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President Andrzej Duda, respectively.
As for NATO, the Western military alliance, it wants to remove France from the organization’s integrated command structure, “so that it will no longer be involved in conflicts that are not ours.”
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