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Marine Le Pen, daughter of the Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been trying for years to smooth her party's extreme right image, while keeping the same anti-immigrant platform and a more 'populist' approach. She is posturing as being on the side of the working class, against big money (especially the foreign one - read American):  a positioning that used to be the one of the Communist party and now also 'Unbowed France' (LFI), the party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Le Pen has been more successful at getting support from the working class than her counterparts from the Communists and LFI, mostly by providing easy scapegoats, like immigrants and Islam.

Her main weak point is her lack of breadth: besides the usual 'stop immigration' and 'salary increase across the board', the political program shows little direction. It doesn't matter to those who rage against 'the system', but it does little to attract new voters.

Another weak point is of course her international exposure: she hasn't much to show besides Hungary's Victor Orbán whom she supports (her party reportedly got a loan from a Orbán linked Hungarian banks), and of course her relationship and past statements of support to Vladimir Putin. When the Russian army invaded Ukraine back in February, Le Pen frenetically tried to get rid of over a million of election flyers that were featuring a picture of her meeting Putin in Moscow five years ago, during her second run in the presidential election.

International issues do not matter as much to her base (unlike Eric Zemmour supporters), so her poll numbers haven't been affected and she quickly condemned the Russian invasion. It still shows her main challenge to get "acceptable" to a broader section of the electorate.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Apr 3rd, 2022 at 05:23:02 PM EST
What could also derail either one: While French polling is generally very highly thought of, polling races with > 2 viable candidates is pretty tricky.  Statistically it wouldn't be altogether shocking if (say) Le Pen didn't advance.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 02:00:43 PM EST
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