How Marine Le Pen is reaching for power in France

How Marine Le Pen is reaching for power in France
How Marine Le Pen is reaching for power in France

Marine Le Pen is a role model for Europe’s extremists. She has made right-wing ideas socially acceptable. Her next goal: the presidency. That is no longer unrealistic.

The evening of April 24, 2022 was a key moment for Marine Le Pen and her path to power. With a determined expression on her face, she stepped in front of the cameras, with three French national flags solemnly behind her, and shouted: “The ideas we represent are reaching new heights. This is an overwhelming victory!”

She had lost the presidential runoff against Emmanuel Macron that evening, quite clearly in fact, and the head of the Élysée was entering his second term with 58 percent of the vote. Marine Le Pen and her followers nevertheless saw the result as a triumph: the candidate from the far-right had received more than 41 percent of the vote. For the first time, it became clear that she could actually make her way to a majority. Since then, her party, the Rassemblement National (RN), has been working like mad on their plan: retain the core electorate and at the same time expand it further towards the center. Don’t scare anyone off. Gain percentage points, build up expertise.

Macron’s decision to dissolve parliament and call new elections after the disastrous European elections three weeks ago has now surprisingly quickly opened up a new perspective for the right-wing populists: After the votes on June 30 and July 7, they could very soon have the prime minister – and move into the Élysée Palace in the upcoming presidential elections in 2027: “Marine Présidente” – that is the goal.

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The RN in France, like the AfD in Germany, is profiting from frustration with the government. And for their German counterparts, the successful right-wing front women Marine Le Pen and Giorgia Meloni in Italy are becoming strategic role models: A number of up-and-coming and quite radical AfD members are calling for a softer line to be taken on the outside in order to get the party out of the dirty corner. Right-wing populism in a socially acceptable guise instead of radical, constant provocation: could the success of the RN become a blueprint for the AfD?

Source: Stern

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