Tuesday, May 17

What will happen to Marine Le Pen after her loss to Macron

The third time was not the charm for Marine Le Pen, who this Sunday failed to convince French voters to elect her president.

Macron: “Many have voted for me to block the extreme right and that is an obligation for me”

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Le Pen detoxified the National Rally (AN), her far-right party, kicked out xenophobic Holocaust-denying thugs—including her own father—softened her image with stories about how much she loves her cats, and appeared on television with calm smiles and clothing in neutral and reassuring colors.

Le Pen

18,779,641 votes

Majority 50%

13,297,760 votes

He even dismissed the idea of ​​’Frexit’, although many have argued that his intention to create an “alliance” of European nations within the European Union (EU) is actually to covertly leave the Union. He no longer supported the death penalty and seemed to have abandoned the idea of ​​banning dual nationality rights, while maintaining a strong anti-immigration stance.

However, despite repeatedly criticizing, he says, the “arrogance” of his rival, Emmanuel Macron, and his “contempt for the French people”, Le Pen’s program has not attracted enough voters to give him the keys. of the Elysee Palace.

“This is not over”

On Sunday afternoon, Le Pen conceded defeat while stating that her percentage of the vote, which was ultimately 41.5%, represented “a victory in itself” and said she would continue the political battle against Macron. “Millions of compatriots have chosen us and instead, we are more determined than ever and our will to defend the French people is greater than ever. This defeat is itself a form of hope,” he told his supporters.

He said the next five years will be “just as brutal as the last five.” “I will keep my commitment to France and the French, this is not over, in a few weeks we have the legislative elections.” His speech did not include the traditional congratulations to the winner. He finished with a performance of La Marseillaise.

Le Pen’s pledge to continue the fight and “never abandon France” casts doubt on her promise to give up her presidential ambitions. He had said that he would not run again, but his speech this Sunday leaves the door open for another attempt to preside over the country. At 53, he is still young in French political terms, even though Macron, 44, and the members of his team have lowered the median age by a few decades.

But Le Pen had also said that spending more time with her cats didn’t mean she had to give up politics altogether. “I have become a cat breeder, it is a passion; you can do politics by having a profession, or turn a passion into a profession”, he said last year on the RTL radio station.

In March, he told the French Sunday paper Le Journal du Dimanche: “A priori, I will not present myself again [a la presidencia]but I will continue doing what I have been doing for years, defending the French, I don’t know in what role, but it will be in one in which I am most effective”.

Inside war

Le Pen took over his father Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National party in 2011 with the aim of cleaning up his image. Le Pen Sr. had caused a political earthquake in France in 2002, when he unexpectedly made it to the second round of the presidential elections with only 16.9% of the vote.

In 2012, Marine Le Pen won 17.9% in the first round of the presidential elections, in which the Socialist François Hollande beat Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round. In 2017, Le Pen won 21.3% in the first round and faced Macron in the second. Macron won and Le Pen changed the name of the party to the National Grouping (RN, for its French acronym).

In the 2022 elections, Le Pen increased her percentage of votes in the first round to 23.15%. However, the far-right vote was split between her and Éric Zemmour, who got 7.1%, suggesting that her score could have been much higher.

Antoine Bristielle, director of the progressive-leaning Fondation Jean-Jaurès Opinion Observatory, says a withdrawal from the front line of Le Pen’s politics could trigger an internal struggle within the party. Le Pen has handed over the reins of the party to the promising star of the far right, Jordan Bardella, a 26-year-old son of Italian immigrants who grew up in an arid banlieue from Paris.

“I think [Le Pen] She will be a candidate in the legislative elections in her northern constituency, but I don’t want to speak for her,” Bardella said after Le Pen’s speech.

There are other young people waiting in the wings, like his niece Marion Maréchal, who in the first round abandoned family allegiance to support Zemmour. “For the family of the radical right, the danger is that there is an internal war to take over the leadership,” says Bristielle. “Although Marine Le Pen is not very good at campaigning, she is very good at organizing the party. The strength of her has been to maintain a united front within it, the risk is that it will fracture without her”.

Translation of Francisco de Zarate


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