Initially published by AFP on April, 25, 2017

Populist Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen Advances in French Elections

by John Friend @ The Realist Report

Two political outsiders will face off in the second round of the French presidential election after no candidate won a majority in the first round of voting, which wrapped up this past Sunday, April 23.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron, who represents En Marche! (On the Move!), a relatively new political movement that only formed in April 2016, will compete against Marine Le Pen, long associated with the National Front, a right-wing, populist party that is critical of the European Union and mass immigration, after the two outsiders came in first and second, respectively, in the first round of voting.

The first round of voting took place during a state of emergency declared by the French government following the alleged ISIS-inspired terrorist attack on the Champs-Elysees, the world-renowned boulevard in the heart of Paris. A French policeman was reportedly killed during the attack, which occurred just days before the first round of voting. Two other French police officers were allegedly wounded during the attack before the attacker, reportedly inspired and affiliated with ISIS, was shot and killed by police.

The National Front, which is regularly vilified and demonized by France’s political and media elite, has only two members of parliament and little political support among other more mainstream parties and leaders. Macron’s En Marche! has no representation in parliament, yet is viewed as a more centrist political party compared to Ms. Le Pen’s nationalistic National Front. Macron, who at the young age of 39 has formerly served as a deputy secretary-general under President François Hollande’s first Socialist government in 2012 and later went on to serve as minister of economy, industry, and digital affairs in 2014 under Prime Minister Manuel Valls, is a former banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque and is viewed by critics as a pro-European Union globalist.

The two political outsiders each won over 20% of the popular vote in the first round of voting, besting their more established political rivals. Macron secured 23.8% of the vote, netting well over 8 million total votes, while Ms. Le Pen secured 21.7% of the vote, attracting well over 7 million total votes.

François Fillon, the center-right candidate whose campaign was plagued by scandalous accusations of abuse of public funds after it was alleged his wife and children were paid public money for work they either never did or were unqualified to do, has encouraged his voters to back Macron, as has Benoit Hamon, the Socialist candidate. Combined, Fillon and Hamon received over 9 million votes, votes both Macron and Ms. Le Pen will be vying for in the second round showdown, currently scheduled to take place on May 7.

Hollande, the current president of France, has also encouraged voters to support Macron in the second round of voting, saying Ms. Le Pen and the National Front “deeply divide France.” Ethnic and minority groups have also targeted Ms. Le Pen and the National Front, vilifying them as “racist” and “xenophobic” for their nationalistic stances on issues such as immigration.

Francis Kalifat, the leader of CRIF, an umbrella group of French Jewish communities, has described Ms. Le Pen as a “candidate of hate,” and has urged his community and other French voters to support Macron regardless of his policies in order to prevent a nationalist from becoming president of the French republic.

In a move that has surprised many of her supporters, Ms. Le Pen recently announced she is stepping down as leader of the National Front in order to focus on the upcoming presidential election. The National Front has long been a polarizing feature of French political life, and Ms. Le Pen has worked carefully to counter that image by expelling hardliners from the party, including her own father, who founded the organization.

“Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate,” Ms. Le Pen declared while making her announcement on France 2, a public television news outlet. “I will feel more free and above partisan considerations.”

While the establishment appears to be supporting Macron, Ms. Le Pen and her supporters are optimistic. In an interview in late January, Ms. Le Pen described Macron as an “ideal” candidate to face off with.

“A runoff between a patriot such as myself and a caricature of a diehard globalist like him is ideal,” Ms. Le Pen said at the time. “It’s a gift.”

Nationalists across the world will be closely watching the second round of the French presidential election, especially nationalists in France concerned about the future of their people and nation. France, like most Western European nations, has seen astonishing levels of immigration from Africa and the Middle East, resulting in rampant crime, rioting, and unrest while the traditional French population is replaced with foreigners.

“This is the last French struggle, and we don’t have much chance to defeat globalism and reverse the white genocide that is happening here, whether demographically or culturally,” Electre, a French nationalist and activist, recently explained to AFP. “If Marine Le Pen doesn’t win now, by the time of the next elections the foreign population—which is already out-breeding French natives—will have grown so much that the local white votes won’t be able to counter foreign votes.”

Electre noted she and other French nationalists will vote for Ms. Le Pen, but many are fearful that Ms. Le Pen will ultimately let down nationalists by compromising with globalist, anti-French forces.

“Even if she manages to be elected, the nationalist struggle will still not be over, because the National Front has essentially become another Republican Party,” Electre explained. “She’s definitely less toxic than all of the other candidates, yet I don’t really trust her to save the country, because if you betray your own father, to whom you owe everything, what’s holding you back from betraying your people and nation ?”