OPINION: Marine Le Pen could lead to France’s downfall


Arnaud Jaegers

Parcels like these are used in the French national elections to cast voter ballots. Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash.

Aiden Bonilla

The 53 year-old far right nationalist is pushing hard against incumbent president Emmanuel Macron in the polls leading up to runoff elections this Sunday, April 24. Le Pen ran against Macron in the last presidential election, but her unpopular stances led to a heavy loss in the primary. This year, Macron won 27.8% of the vote, with Le Pen receiving around 23.2%. Since neither candidate passed a simple majority of 50%, a second runoff election is being held to determine a winner between the top two candidates,

Le Pen has seen controversy on and off of the campaign trail, with her outspoken anti-Islamist views causing major pushback from the general public. Leading up to the final runoffs, mass protests have formed from centrists and more democratic voters alike. Le Pen has spoken of her still strong support of banning hijabs and other head scarfs due to their religious symbolism. The National Rally, Le Pen’s party, has always been known for being less accepting of other cultures, especially Islam. Over 8 percent of France’s population is Muslim, but events such as the 2015 Paris attacks committed by the Islamic State have led to an increased scrutiny on the Muslim population. 

Le Pen feeds off of this fear and distrust of outsiders in her stance towards immigration. She wants to repeal laws helping convert illegal immigrants into legitimate citizens, as well as restricting circumcision and limiting benefits for new immigrants. She wants France to remain as closed off and independent as possible, as you can also see from her economic and energy stances. She strongly opposes wind power, as she wants to focus on hydroelectric and nuclear power above all else in the long run. She also wants France to be independent in their trade, almost in a Japan model of self sufficiency. She also opposes social security and shares conflicting views in foreign policy.

On one hand, Le Pen in 2017 was vehemently against France staying in the EU, but after significant pushback, she relented from openly campaigning for French removal. She also was a staunch supporter of Vladimir Putin prior to his invasion of Ukraine, later condemning his power grab in the region, before hinting that she would be open to working with him again after Ukraine dies down. She already opposed EU membership for Ukraine, one of the main sticking points of Russia’s invasion in the first place.

Le Pen has come under investigation for a second time from the EU fraud agency, as she underwent a similar process before her unsuccessful campaign in 2017. Several members of her party, including her own father, have been accused of using well over 600,000 euros from the EU for “fictitious reasons”. She is still facing the original charges from her last indictment, and a brand new controversy would certainly not surprise experienced Le Pen enthusiasts.

Even with Macron, following overwhelming support from the left and centrists all piling up together to defeat Le Pen, is predicted to win the election quite easily, any chance of Marine Le Pen becoming France’s president would strike disaster for the European nation, and fear into the hearts of Muslims and progressives alike.