The first round of voting for the French Presidential Election is occurring this Sunday April 23rd. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round which is all but certain, a runoff election between the first two candidates will be held two weeks later on May 7th. The President of France is elected for a five year term, renewable once. Incumbent Socialist President François Hollande, due to his incredibly low approving rating after just one term, will not be running.
Unlike in Anglosphere countries which normally have a two-party system, France’s Presidential election has five major candidates each having a realistic chance of being elected. French politics has always had polarizing politicians and a volatile electorate but with the country being in state of economic and cultural crises this could be the most critical election for the future of France.
The Major Candidates
The main centre right party in France is the Republicans and they have nominated former Prime Minister François Fillon. He is the most free market out of all the candidates and wants to reduce France’s current high levels of taxation, debt and spending. He wants to reduce the size of the civil service and deregulate the labor market. He is the preferred choice of economic conservatives and libertarians. Although he talks tougher on immigration than most he is unwilling to embrace more hardline restrictions that France needs. He has been involved in a scandal involving paying members of his family as part of his parliamentary staff for fictitious work.
Termed a political outsider yet being the establishment’s preferred candidate is Emmanuel Macron who is nominee of the recently formed party En Marche which means in English forward. Macron claims he is a centrist but is better defined as soft left, his campaign message has been compared to that of Barack Obama’s in 2008. He is the globalist choice for President as he is the most Pro-EU candidate. His immigration stance is also soft, and as a progressive candidate, he is popular among many of the younger demographics.
Benoît Hamon is the Socialist Party’s nominee who is a former Minister in Hollande’s cabinet but who resigned for what he saw the abandonment of Socialist principles. Due to Hollande being so unpopular Hamon is considered to have the least chance of being elected. He is championing pet progressive ideas such as the basic universal income and more investment in renewable energy to combat climate change which he believes is caused by capitalism.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon is the nominee of Unsubmissive France, another new party, but his candidacy is backed by the French Communist Party. You can understand their endorsement as he supports a 90-100% tax rate on high income earners and wants an even bigger welfare state. The only positive thing about his candidacy is he is against globalism and the European Union. This aspect has allowed him to become more popular than most, and appears to be in stark contrast to what Communism promotes. However, he only opposes them because of their link to neo-liberalism, and we would be seeing a completely different Melenchon if the EU and globalism were promoting far-left economic policies.
But the standout candidate for anyone concerned with the future of Europe and the West is Marine Le Pen who is the endorsed candidate of the nationalist conservative party, the National Front. She not only wants to suspend immigration which is largely made up of people from the third world but also wants adopt a policy of assimilation, restore the French national identity and put the French people first. She wants to withdraw France from both the European Union and the Euro, revive the Franc, restore French border security and also withdraw France from foreign interventions. Le Pen however favors a centrist economic program as she opposes selling state assets and corporate tax cuts. She does support tax cuts for small to medium size businesses as she represents the day to day French citizen. A staunch supporter of protectionism, Le Pen seems to be reviving the Old Order that constituted the original right wing, and is thus supported by many on the far-right in the spectrum.
The main issue in this campaign is immigration, national security and the loss of French sovereignty. France on average is now suffering a terrorist attack every month, one just occurred in the last 24 hours with the shooting of three policemen in Paris. 10% of the French population is now Muslim, even more alarming is 16% of French citizens support ISIS. France, because it is part of European Union, has found itself part of European migrant crisis. Marine Le Pen has launched herself as the most vocal and controversial regarding this issue. She plans to end all immigration to France, saying “I will protect you” in order to articulate her purpose of using this policy to preserve France’s culture and identity.
Continued membership in the EU is another polarising issue highlighting this election. It is now common knowledge that Marine Le Pen wants to hold an EU Referendum after she wins in order to have a ‘Frexit’. She has been vocally supportive of its British predecessor, and hailed it as a victory of democracy and liberty. Macron, Fillon and Hamon hold many progressive globalist ideas, and thus do not support a French exit from the EU. Macron is especially vocal in his support for the EU, a major reason he receives support from many young voters. As already mentioned, Melenchon is against globalism and the EU. One would expect a Communist to support some form of global integration, yet it is important to remember that the current form of globalism is mainly economically centre-right and neo-liberal, and Communism would only support a far-left version of globalism.
Other social issues also occupy an important position in this election. Le Pen plans on repealing same sex marriage, which Macron opposes, yet he supports free speech and discussion regarding the issue. He sparked outrage among social progressives for saying that proponents of traditional marriage were stigmatised and ‘humiliated’ during the same-sex marriage debate. Hamon supports same-sex marriage and takes pride in his party’s role in legalising it. Fillon, a traditional Catholic, is vocally against same-sex marriage and gay-adoption rights. He is also conservative and traditionalist on many fronts, as he opposes French schools encouraging students to be ashamed of France’s colonial past, and believes that there is a problem with Islam despite not acknowledging its impact in France. Interestingly, however, Marine Le Pen is not against abortion.
Le Pen is all but certain to come first or second in the first round of voting based on the currently polling. However, in the runoff vote she loses to Fillon, Marcon and most alarming even to Mélenchon in most polls by double digit margins. Although her support might be understated in these polls it is still a monumental task for her to get elected. Many commentators has said she might be a better chance in the 2022 presidential election since most of her support is from the youth, but can France really afford another five years under the status quo?
The French media has saved its most outrageous attacks on Le Pen until the end, Facebook is taking down pro Le Pen pages and an electoral error means that French citizens living overseas, who are unlikely to vote for Le Pen can vote twice which is not being investigated. The political establishment is doing its best to sabotage her chances, but they couldn’t stop Brexit or Trump last year which gives us hope. Can Le Pen do it? We hope so.
Why We Endorse Marine Le Pen
Here at the Unshackled, we support Marine Le Pen. She is essential for France to survive in this turbulent age, and while some of her policies are not perfect, her views regarding the most important issues are integral for not just France, but for Europe and the West.
Many conservatives and libertarians argue they cannot support Le Pen because of her economic policies, but the free market will not be any good if large parts of France are run under Sharia law and innocent French people continue to be killed by Islamic terrorists. France now has numerous suburbs in its cities which are no go zones and until recently Friday Muslim prayers were carried out in Paris streets (yet they continue to be carried out in areas other than Paris). The European Union, its bureaucratic and undemocratic nature, the debt it has forced on France and the political class and elites it has fostered must be destroyed. Only Le Pen can do this, other policy goals can wait for another day.
Some may argue that Fillon is the free-market conservative capitalist candidate, yet his failure to tackle important issues such as immigration and EU membership will render his views and policies as futile. Similarly, many would support Macron for his socially progressive views, and while we disapprove of such views, it has to be said that his failure to adequately address important issues will make his views useless in the long-run.
Marine Le Pen may not be economically right wing, but she can help France’s economy more than Fillon thanks to her other policies. Marine is also not socially progressive, yet she can provide more progress and safety than Macron ever will. This is all thanks to her stances on the important issues.
We ask anti-Le Pen conservatives this question: which is more important, having an economic conservative who lacks an adequate policy on other issues, or an economic centrist, who can deliver more economic advancement thanks to her overall views?
To social progressives: which is more important, having Macron simply because he brands himself as socially progressive and centrist, or a far-right candidate who can go further in protecting women’s rights through her views on issues such as immigration? Sometimes, the racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic candidate might actually be more aligned with your overall views than other candidates.
Here are some quotes from Marine Le Pen which further illustrate why she is worthy our support:
“The choice on Sunday is simple. It is a choice between a France that is rising again and a France that is sinking. Mass immigration is not an opportunity for France, it’s a tragedy for France. The French sometimes have fewer rights than foreigners – even illegal ones.”
“We’ve taught our children that they have all the reasons in the world to criticize it, to only see its darkest historical aspects. I want them to be proud of being French”
“This country we love so much is abandoned to terrorism, insecurity and even attacks on our national identity.”
“I’m counting on you to carry out with me the battle for France! We have to put France back in order! I will engage France on the path of economic patriotism – for our small business, for our farms.”
“Victory for Freedom! As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries.”
“The time has come to defeat globalists. My message is one of emancipation, of liberation … a call for all the patriots to gather behind our flag.”
“Would you accept 12 illegal immigrants moving into your flat? You would not. On top of that, they start to remove the wallpaper. Some of them would steal your wallet and brutalise your wife. You would not accept that. Consequently, we are welcoming, but we decide with whom we are welcoming”
“Danger number one is two-faced. One, Islamic fundamentalism, which is a kind of totalitarianism in the 21st Century. The second is globalisation, which is another kind of totalitarianism…”
As the slogans go ‘We are with her’ and Le Pen is mightier than the sword. She is the female President we actually want, only she can rescue France from destruction.