Elections in France: the far right has never been so close | France vote this Sunday and Marine Le Pen chases the favorite Macron

From Paris

Features of the presidential elections whose first round will be held this Sunday, with the participation of 12 candidates, they are as peculiar as they are catastrophic. Democratic exhaustion, displacement of moral and historical references, ideological sewers, trivialization of the most fanatical and excluding ideas of the far right and the decline of the two parties that have alternated in power since the twentieth century, socialists and conservatives of Gaullist heritage, the vote exposes a society that seems to have left the roots of its fundamental values ​​over time. The most spectacular feature is, once again, the weight that the far right has gained in these five years of presidential term Emanuele Macron. There is no longer one far-right list but two: that of Marine Le Pen and of Eric Zemmour. The French far right has managed to promote its racial obsessions in all media and thus to impose its ideas in all political debates.

ideological winner

Before the first round on Sunday and beyond the results, the ideological winner is French neo-fascism. For the first time in modern history, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen appears to be able to challenge the outgoing president for her seat on the throne.. Never before had he been so close to power. If all goes as polls predict and Marine Le Pen moves on to the next round, the French far right will play its third second round: in 2002 he was Marine’s father and founder of the far right.Jean-Marie Le Penwho challenged it together with the re-elected president Jacques Chirac and, in 2017, Marine Le Pen herself. Today two points separate her from Emmanuel Macron.

With socialism enclosed in a miniature music box (3 percent), the right wing of the government with declining percentages (8 percent) and almost all of the left divorced from itself, in the figure and movement of the radical left led by Jean-Luc Melenchon.

The helpful vote

The leader of France Insoumise has entered an upward dynamic for several weeks that places him in third position, about 5 points behind Marine Le Pen. He is, today, the only one who could deprive the far right of the long served banquet and save society a pitiful debate in which foreigners will be the filler pot. Faced with repeated attacks by his left-wing rivals, especially the socialist Anna Hidalgo (2 percent) and the environmentalist Yannick Jadot (6 percent), Mélenchon challenged voters to opt for a “useful vote”.

Useful here means preventing the far right from repeating the episodes of 2002 and 2017 and voting “out of strategic necessity” in the polls of its popular movement. How to convert a vote that expresses a political conviction into another that is based solely on its usefulness? You can breathe the margin that could leave Marine Le Pen without a second lap and restore, incidentally, the left / right intersection.

Mélenchon drags a controversial image that tarnishes her profile and drives many voters away from those elections. The verticalism with which he leads his movement, the lack of internal democracy and past positions in the face of the appalling crimes committed in Syria by President Bashar al-Assad and his previous support for Vladimir Putin are two obstacles that frighten many leftist voters. .

Amélie Laurent confided Page 12 I have never been so disoriented. This progressive voter is tempted by Mélenchon. “My favorite candidates were the socialists, today is the environmentalist Jadot, but there is also the necessary vote in favor of Mélenchon to stop Marine Le Pen. I doubt between the environmentalist program vote and the strategic vote in favor of Mélenchon “.

Left-wing voters feel that “too much is being asked of them, all together, in a contradictory wave of demands,” says Bénédicte Dubois, an economist with a long tradition on the left. And it is not without reason. The interpellations are manifold and in several directions: “we must usefully vote for Mélenchon so that Le Pen does not pass, we must also vote for the socialist Anne Hidalgo to save socialism from ruin and, incidentally, to vote ecologist to give strength to that nascent movement. Why didn’t they agree before the election instead of spending all these months arguing and insulting each other as the far right grew every week? This would not have happened if they had agreed to a single application.

François, a 45-year-old literature professor, confesses “with regret in advance” that he will go to vote for Macron: “there is no other way. Mélenchon is unbearable and antiquated, socialists do not exist and the other lefts are anecdotal. To make matters worse, all leftist values ​​have disappeared from the debates. The right and the far right rule us with their toxic values. At least with Macron something can be expected.

right options

The options aren’t better right. The militants of the more moderate right-wing government of the Republicans do not have too many options: they will not vote for the far right, the candidate Valerie Pécresse he disappointed them with the inclusion in his program of ideas and expressions of the far right (“French of paper”, “the great substitute”). “This is worse than walking barefoot on thorns. Imagine which option we have left: Macron, the far right or abstention, ”says Michel, a 63-year-old doctor.

Interestingly, it is the two ruling parties that have misled their constituents. The socialists disappeared at the end of the mandate of Francois Hollande (2012-2017) and the Gaullist right wing was destroyed after the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012).

Emmanuel Macron recovered from both lost treasures and won with them in 2017, ruled for 5 years and always maintained his electoral leadership. Emmanuel Macron survived the yellow vests movement that he himself promoted with his measures, won the demonstrations at the end of 2019 against his pension reform and survived the pandemic and the unpopular measures that, like so many rulers in the world, should have taken. He came to have more than 12 points clear of Marine Le Pen. However, a setback arose: he misrepresented and explained his program and a last-minute scandal cost him 5 points in a few days. It concerns McKinsey case, a private consultancy firm in the United States whose services have been requested without measure by the executive and the presidency of state experts. The applications cost many millions of euros and McKinsey did not even pay the corresponding taxes in France.

Candidates for Teflon

Macron / Le Pen survived in the face of all contingencies and contradictions. Marine Le Pen resisted after the 2017 defeat, changing the name of the party and some of its orientations. The National Front was renamed National Regrouping while the leader performed another whitewash of the image. “Sweetness”, “Concord”, “National Union” are their updated creeds. Behind, however, the same authoritarian and xenophobic wolf continues to crouch.

His program does not appear to have been read by the voters. The 47 pages of the project dedicated to immigration are a constitutional challenge: there, discrimination and xenophobia would become a constitutional principle of France and a violation of the principles of the Declaration of Human Rights of 1789 of which France has always been proud.

Marine Le Pen was not even struck by her closeness to Vladimir Putin, nor by the enormous contradiction of a patriotic and ultra-nationalist political movement, a staunch opponent of globalization, which finances his election campaigns with loans from Russian banks (2014, 9 million euros) and another loan of over 10 million euros from a Hungarian bank (Magyar Külkereskedelmi Bank) for the election campaign of the 2022. Russia outside the European Union and Victor Orbán’s Hungary within the Union are, on the continent, the two countries that most vigorously oppose the democratic parliamentary liberalism that prevails in the West. All is well, any lie is a truth and nothing matters.

Climate, ecology and purchasing power are currently the issues of greatest concern for society. None of the three topics featured in the discussions nor was it really the subject of concrete proposals. “They turned their backs on us and faced their stories, their entanglements, their fascisms and their complaints. This democracy has exhausted me. ”, Says bitterly Pierre Desmonts, a communist who no longer recognizes himself in parties. A feeling of pre-election unreality remains fluctuating. The choice is subordinate a useful vote so that the liberalism or fascism option is not reactivated.

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