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The Day of Glory will come, Be Blonde & Govern
This is the first time in French Political history a woman has run for a high office in the Republic as a seriously viable candidate for President who could win.
By Abdennour Toumi
On the road to the Élysée Palace, Ms Le Pen, Far-right party candidate is carving up the countryside and packing the cities’ convention centers with her sympathizers in her presidential meetings campaign promising to make France free from Brussels and stop the “Islamization” of France.
Surfing on the surge of President Donald Trump in the U.S. and MP Geert Wilders in Holland her campaign is gaining ground with an opportunist message style not in keeping with the substance of France’s blonde masters. However, the political ruse knows when and how to hold on the gas, unlike President Trump and MP Geert.
In the most unpredictable election and open race France has known in recent history, the FN candidate and voters believe to elect their darling girl to become the first woman French President, in the wake of “Penelope Gate” that is haunting the Conservative party LR candidate François Fillon who sounds in his program and discourse like a FN light.
The dislocation of the Socialist party and the evaporation of the Left message and its program with it, the rise of populism and the anti-Muslim and Arab sentiment across Europe and the U.S. are now solid elements for the Right base and the Extreme-Right electorate to back Ms. Le Pen.
This is the first time in French Political history a woman has run for a high office in the Republic as a seriously viable candidate for President who could win. This choice is considered to be a social-revolutionary act, despite the majority of the French feminists, who could wish for any other woman but Ms. Le Pen and niece.
Though the majority of white French are staying away from the old French machismo saying of the 1950’s: “Sois belle et tais-toi.” Be pretty and shut up, so now be pretty and govern.
Latest opinion polls show the 49-year-old daughter of National Front (FN) founder Jean-Marie Le Pen finishing on top of the podium in the first round on April 23rd, but then eventually losing the May 7th run-off to another unpredictable candidate Mr. Macron, the 38-year-old former Economy Minister in President Hollande’s cabinet.
However, her chances to win on May 7th are getting stronger every day, putting the credibility of the polls in doubt and making the French establishment and media anxious, fearing the Alain Juppé factor of last fall’s LR primaries.
Ms. Le Pen, a French lawyer, started her political career under the wing of her father Mr. Jean-Marie Le Pen, a provocateur French racist and radical politician and former OAS member.
However, Ms. Le Pen claims to be in the conventional Right, a moderate and a pragmatist Republican, but nationalist and isolationist. These views have given her and her party some political legitimacy in the eyes of her base and suspicion vis-a-vis the rest of the French political spectrum and media.
She is a Machiavellian, and lucid to some point; although she has been dominating the French political scene since she took the leadership of the FN in 2012, she has won major elections both regional and cantonal. But because of the French electoral system and the multiple candidacy of the other parties, the popular vote is not enough to win, hence the run-off again major political candidates to stop the FN to govern.
Nationally she doesn’t hold any seat. She is a regional counsel and European MP.
In 2015, she hoped to win a majority in the northern region and become the President of Picardy, but she lost in a face-off against the LR candidate and reacted with an outcry for political massacred and called for an end of the two-party system, L’UMPS. As she put it.
According to French analysts, it’s too late to counter her popularity among the militants of the party; she excelled in seducing the moderate conservative base and even Hollande’s disenchanted voters.
President Hollande decided in December not to run for a second term.
Despite the freshness of the Socialist candidate Mr. Hamon who lacks charisma, the Socialist base’s heart is swinging between Macron and Mélechon, the latter a populist lefty, who tried to be the anti-Le Pen alternative in Hénin-Beaumont in the last municipal election.
But his message and attitude didn’t weigh in the northern city because of the failure of socioeconomic programs of President Hollande and the proximity of the Calais camp, two electoral imperatives Ms. Le Pen used to smooth her message and passage in the region that used to be a Socialist bastion and electorate reservoir.
The French people are not culturally xenophobic, but due to recent events that have shaken the country’s national security, they might look for change and want France first, à la Trump in the U.S. and Geert in Holland. They are simply like people in the U.S., tired of the corrupt establishment. The Fillon saga has made Ms. Le Pen’s populist dish even spicier.
The French media and the elite are worried about the 2002 scenario of Ms. Le Pen’s father that provoked a political earthquake in April, 2002, although Mr. Le Pen was a chronic symptom of the French political debate. The classical Right, the Socialist leaders and the elitist media alike have been using his rhetorical message as a scary tactic, and as a result his movement and his daughter have progressed ever since.
Today, Le Pen senior was thrown under the bus by his daughter and her “brain,” Mr. Florian Filippot, a former Center-left militant and a Gaullian Republican, who worked to change the FN face in the media. He has full control of the party’s message and strategy.
He has made it possible for the FN conceivably to reach and pass the 21% barre, which would qualify Marine for the run-off in the second round.
In the post-Charlie Hébdo, Le Batacalan and Nice events, add to that the Burkini episode and last week’s suburbs protests, it is like a Turkish soap-opera unfolding in French politics. It is entirely possible now for Ms. Le Pen to hope of becoming President, since the French anti-Muslin and Arab sentiment has virtually skyrocketed in terms of hate and rejection.
Certainly the majority of French people though are believing in the FN’s populist and neo-poujadist ideas.
Months ago, one thought that the French would never elect a racist President, at least from the liberal, moderate elite and educated middle class, who have shown their desire to elect a better candidate.
But in the world views of Trump and Geert on one hand, and ISO/Da’eesh on the other, the white French men are breaking decisively from the old attitude against hearing the voices of women, even a xenophobic blonde: Be blonde and govern.
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- France correspondent for The Arab Daily News.
- www.bareed-areej.com Editor-in-Chief
رئيس تحرير مجلة بريد الأريج
- Political consultant at IMPR a Think-Tank based in Ankara, Turkey.
- Member at the European Observatory for Arabic Language Teaching based in Paris, France.
- Affiliated with Sociology of Islam Journal and contributor at Middle East Studies / International Studies, Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies Center, Portland State University in Portland, OR.
EDUCATION: Diplôme des Études Approfondies (DEA) in Political Science from Toulouse University I, France. Master’s degree in Law from Algiers University, Algeria.
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