Marine Le Pen hopes Donald Trump's victory will boost National Front chances in France
An expected front-runner in 2017 elections, Le Pen vows to return France to its glory days
The leader of France’s far-right National Front party, Marine Le Pen, says the US election of Donald Trump “shows that people are taking their future back,” suggesting that French voters could do the same.
Widely expected to be a front-runner in France’s presidential elections next year, Le Pen says Trump’s victory boosts her chances of winning because it “makes the French realize that what the people want, they can get, if they mobilize themselves.”
“Donald Trump has made possible what was presented as completely impossible,” Le Pen told CNN in an interview Tuesday. “So it’s a sign of hope for those who cannot bear wild globalization. They cannot bear the political life led by the elites.”
“This win also kills the argument used by my opponents about isolation,” she said. “They say, ‘Marine Le Pen, your policies have isolated you.’ I feel less isolated today because of the multi-polar world defended by Donald Trump but also by Theresa May and Vladimir Putin.”
Instead, she said, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande should feel isolated as the political landscape changes following Trump’s win in the United States and Britain’s vote for Brexit.
Rise in populist parties
Le Pen is hoping that the recent rise in populist parties will continue in April and May when French voters go to the polls to elect a new President.
“Each year that goes by, France sinks a little bit more into economic and social difficulties and I said five years ago, ‘We will take power, within the next 10 years,’ so I hope, I believe it will be in 2017.”
Echoing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” election slogan, she vowed to oversee a return to France’s glory days, saying if she were in power, the country would be “nothing like you have seen in the last 30 years.”
“It would be very different. It would be the comeback of France, of the France that you like, of the France that hundreds of millions inhabitants of the earth love.”
She said there would be no place for multiculturalism under a Le Pen presidency.
“I am opposed to a multicultural France, I think that those who have a different culture and who arrive in France have to submit themselves to French culture. Like the old saying, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ I think that in France we should do like the French people.
“That doesn’t mean discriminating against, (or) persecuting; it means we have a culture, we have values, and all those who come to our place have to submit themselves to this culture and these values. … Saying … ‘Come as you are, keep living like you do, keep your culture and we will add all that together,’ doesn’t work. Multicultural societies are multi-conflict societies.”
Establishment accused of scare tactics
Le Pen praised the US President-elect for what she called “his willingness to break with the idea that the USA has to police the world.”
And she accused the establishment of using scare tactics to try and persuade voters to stick with the status quo.
“The system, when it disagrees, infantilizes the people and plays the ‘Big Bad Wolf,’ ” she said, insisting, “They try to scare people because they don’t have arguments, and (then) the day after the election of Donald Trump, the sun rises and we realize that none of the big disasters that were announced has happened.
“They did exactly the same thing for the Brexit: The Brexit vote was going to trigger the collapse of the British economy, they were going to find themselves isolated in the world and Great Britain was going to drift away from the French coast. All that did not happen – in fact the reverse has happened.”
A prominent Euroskeptic, Le Pen dismissed the European Union as a “quasi-totalitarian political system” that was being “deeply rejected by the people of Europe” and should be disbanded in favor of a Europe “of free nations and of cooperation.”
“Every time a referendum is organized, in whatever European country, it turns to the disadvantage of the European Union,” she said. “The nations want to take back their sovereignty, want to decide and be the owner of their fate.
“I oppose the EU in the strongest way. … It has to end.”
Charges of xenophobia dog party
The former lawyer blamed globalization and wide-scale international migration for causing conflicts around the world.
“The truth is that nations are very ancient and have won their spurs for the protection of people on matters of security, prosperity, defense of identity,” she said.
“The nations are not triggering the war; it is ultra-liberalism, the disappearance of borders, the great migration of people … according to the ambitions of the multinationals that creates war. There have never been as many conflicts as there are today.”
Le Pen, 48, has led the National Front since 2011, attempting to “detoxify” the party somewhat of its reputation for racism and xenophobia, focusing instead on anti-EU and anti-immigration policies.
In 2015, her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was barred from the party he had founded in the 1970s after he was regularly accused of xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
His repeated characterization of the murder of 6 million Jews as a small “detail” of World War II violated France’s strict Holocaust denial laws, leading to a series of convictions and hefty fines.