Marine Le Pen
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Marine Le Pen (b. 1968) is the current head of Front National (a French ultra-right political party) as well as the daughter of its previous leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen. She is a nationalist Eurosceptic who may or may not want to have sex with Nigel Farage. You wouldn't want France's first female president to be her, but then again, this is the era of populist bomb-throwing. Do you want to appear out of touch with the latest fashion?
The fate of the European Union hangs on France and Germany. The EU can easily survive Brexit, but if one of those key countries is gone, it's over. Second of all, the French president has more power than any other Union leader. There are still checks and balances, but with a larger share (25%) of MPs Le Pen could make good on her claims. "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" might soon be replaced with "Travail, famille, patrie".
A kinder, more gentle fascist
She seems to have succeeded in laundering the party image by:
- Banning the Nazi salute amongst her skinhead followers or her security service;[notes 1]
- Her campaign branding is all about "Marine" — leaving out her surname and party identification.
- Distancing herself from her denialist father's views; (more recently, boldened by her electoral successes, she has taken it to the point to ban her father's blog from the party's website, provoking a spat between the two and firmly entrenching the new party line.)
- Distancing herself from her father's antisemitism and marrying after many divorces a Jew who is a member of the French Jewish Defence League. How much this is a good thing is up to the reader to decide.
- Sometimes adopting a surprisingly modern position for a wingnut, notably opposing the repeal of the 1975 abortion law, despite favoring to not allow social security to refund them;[notes 2]
- Or simply being a woman in a party that had been more associated with her old one-eyed father and beer drinking skinheads.
This makeover appears to have paid off - in the 2012 Presidential elections she gained over 18% of the vote, the highest ever for her party. However, she failed to make the cut for the second round of voting. But she confirmed her results in the 2014 European election by leading the Front National to first place in France in 70% of the counties, confirming the now widespread appeal of her party.
Nonetheless, she still wants to kick all those lazy and delinquent immigrants out of France (to where, since most those she refers to are second generation, therefore French, is not clear), and prevent those evul Muzlimz from tearing down traditional French values. And revert to isolationism. Oh, and also leave the European Union, whose technocrats want to use French taxes to bail those lazy Greeks and Portuguese out of their economic troubles. She is also staunchly anti-free trade and anti-corporate tax.
Brexit and Trump made Le Pen's election much, much more likely since she has been analyzing and copying what made both of those campaigns successful. Unlike Trump or Brexit, voting Le Pen is a vote to end French sovereignty. Le Pen is funded by Putin, and it's very likely that he's influencing the election in other ways. It's too important for him not too. Russian trolls, hackers, official Kremlin declarations of support/threats, and planted news stories will be among the tools used. If she wins, she'll owe part of her victory to them and will be reliant on their support to stay in power. (When she leaves office, she might also get a good "retirement plan" from them, just like Gerhard Schröder.) Monsieur Marshall Pétain already had their vision in place for France.
Lately (in November 2013), she made comments implicitly accusing hostages formerly held in Niger since 2010, and who have just been freed, of being Islamized Manchurian-candidate-style because they were wearing the beards and the clothes their kidnappers wanted they keep. On a side note, she didn't comment on another recently freed hostage, who, when asked by a journalist if he was going back to France, jokingly answered "inshallah".
She made it through the runoff in 2017 against former banker and independent Emmanuel Macron, utterly dismantling the two-party system that had existed for the entire Fifth Republic's history. She lost to Macron, 34% to 65%, and conceded within half an hour of the polls closing. Despite the loss, Front National received more votes than any other point in its history.
- Jean-Marie Le Pen - Her goose-stepping father. Jean-Marie had modest electoral success against Chirac in 2002.
- Geert Wilders - her Dutch equivalent. Ironically, the European Union has made it much easier for these parties to merge.
- Already forbidden, but not fully enforced before. Marine does take pain to keep them away from the media.
- Much to the dismay of the old guard, but don't worry, she's still supporting capital punishment because of a referendum where the majority of the FN-members voted in favor and opposing euthanasia and gay marriage, though she is in favor of gay civil unions.
- Private Eye No. 1429 (October 2016). p.1
- Marine Le Pen scores stunning result in French presidential election
- Despite being divorced!
- Marine Le Pen condemned for remarks about beards of French hostages, Guardian