The disturbing rise of Marine Le Pen

The close results of the first round of the French presidential election between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are frankly worrying. At 27.85% for the outgoing president and 23.15% for the leader of the National Rally, the rise of the far right in France is confirmed.

• Read also: Macron and Le Pen return to campaigning on the ground

Because it is part of a broader push by the far right in several Western countries, the trend is all the more worrying.

With his 21.95% of the vote, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far left party La France insoumise, the ideological extremes and their populism are clearly in full expansion there.

However, the reality remains unchanged. In this reinforcement of the political cards at the two extremes, the far right retains the upper hand.

The explanation certainly lies partly in Macron’s inability to really understand the nature of the anger of the working and middle classes in the face of, among other things, an economy leaving them behind. The Yellow Vests are not of spontaneous generation.

Less noble phenomena

Behind the rise of the extreme right, however, we also find somewhat less noble social phenomena: xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-immigration and anti-European sentiment, the fetishization of a certain national “purity”, etc.

By effect of contrast, the sulphurous Éric Zemmour, even more to the right of the right, will perhaps have succeeded in “softening” the image of Marine Le Pen. Behind this new veneer of “Maman kittens”, however, she remains the main bearer of a deeply xenophobic vision of France.

We talk less about it, but his admiration for Vladimir Poutine – shared by Zemmour and Mélenchon – also reveals the more authoritarian aspect of extremist ideologies.

The brutal invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army is now forcing them to camouflage their well-known devotion to Putin. However, this devotion comes above all from their own envy in the face of his fully assumed autocratic authoritarianism.

For them, “strong” leaders are above all those for whom democratic institutions are an obstacle to the full exercise of their power. This is not a detail.

Not an imaginary construction

Within her electorate, Marine Le Pen maintains the same disdain for democracy and the resulting openness to the world. No, the extreme right is not an imaginary construction of the left.

It does exist. Even last year’s insurrection on Capitol Hill led by an armed band of Trumpists determined, in their delirium, to overthrow a duly elected government.

In Canada, its rise is much more discreet. The recent long and violent occupation of Ottawa by clearly far-right movements does, however, turn on some yellow lights.

And in France? According to many, Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the 2and turn is most likely. But who knows?

As for Emmamuel Macron, seeking to seduce voters from Mélenchon, he undertook on Sunday evening to “invent something new to bring together the convictions and the various sensitivities”. Difficult to be more sibylline.

If he does not deliver his promise by April 24 in much more concrete terms, who knows if the danger of a victory for Marine Le Pen, patient and increasingly skilful in making people forget her true political nature, will not come to fruition. Whether in 2022 or the next presidential…

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