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French Populist for President?

Le Pen's third try could be the charm

April 6, 2021  0

French politician Marine Le Pen will be running — again — for president in 2022.

The controversial leader of France's National Rally Party announced on Friday that she will be stepping down in July to run for president.

Le Pen is the French version of Donald Trump.

European political analyst Benjamin Harnwell gives Church Militant the details.

Harnwell: "She's probably one of the most longstanding politicians in the European scene to unashamedly embrace a nationalist policy. Even though the expression "France first" has never been used, that's very much the essence of her philosophy." 

This is Le Pen's third shot at the presidency.

In 2012, she came in third behind François Hollande and incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. 

Then in 2016, a poor debate performance led to Le Pen's defeat to Emmanuel Macron, but her percentage of the vote grew.

In his management of the COVID crisis, Macron handed Le Pen a big stick, and world headlines show she's effectively hitting him with it.

The polls show French voters are now almost evenly split.

Many of Le Pen's "France First" views are attractive, but she has some big negatives for Catholics.

Harnwell: "I mean, Marine Le Pen, she's an open advocate of civil unions; she's an open advocate of unrestricted abortion. Catholics can't support either of those positions."

Harnwell points out that for most of Trump's life he was a pro-abortion Democrat.

Harnwell: "And then, we should look and see where around the world our potential collaborators are. Let's see whether there's the possibility and the potential that a person might come closer to us in time."

Le Pen is among the European populist leaders supported by Steve Bannon.

Bannon: "I think she's terrific."

Harnwell: "Steve often cites one of her lines. Marine Le Pen said that national identity is like a jewel, something to be cherished and preserved and is not something to be ashamed of."

A growing number of European populist candidates who champion working-class voters and small-business owners are gaining in the polls. In 2022, the French will have their say.

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