Paris (Times Of Ocean)- French President Emmanuel Macron defeated his far-right rival Marine Le Pen to win five more years at the helm of Europe’s second economy. With a narrow margin of victory and an increasingly polarized nation, the incumbent’s success was truncated by the lowest turnout in half a century.
Marine Le Pen, 53, transformed the far-right into a political force in a decade, and unbowed by her third failed bid for the presidency, she continues to fight Macron as she prepares for the parliamentary election in June.
Since taking the helm of the party in 2011, Le Pen has attempted to rid the National Front (now called the National Rally (RN)) of its anti-Semitic image under the nearly 40-year leadership of her father, ex-paratrooper Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Macron, 44, is the first president to win re-election since Jacques Chirac 20 years ago. He has won back-to-back elections in a country that has recently developed a taste for ousting incumbents at the earliest opportunity. On both occasions, he was up against a political force that is still regarded as unfit for government by a (shrinking) majority of French citizens.
Macron’s projected margin of victory surpassed most pollsters’ predictions, with 58.8 percent to Le Pen’s 41.2 percent. The rematch on Sunday produced a closer outcome than in 2017, when 66 percent of voters supported the upstart. On her third attempt, Le Pen has gotten closer to the Élysée Palace. In France, the nationalist far right hasn’t come this close to power since World War II.
A defiant Le Pen told supporters in a defiant speech that her ideas had reached a “shining victory,” even as she conceded defeat. “I will keep up the fight,” the 53-year-old far-right candidate said. “I will lead the battle against Macron in parliamentary elections in June.”
To Le Pen, the election was a referendum on the incumbent. “Choose between Macron and France,” she urged voters.
Le Pen proposes a ban on Muslim headscarves in public, and she wants French citizens to receive housing and employment benefits before foreigners.
On the last day of campaigning Friday as both candidates tried to convince undecided voters why their political agenda, Le Pen said “the French, with Emmanuel Macron, will end up with life.”
“This reform of Emmanuel Macron is a deep social injustice.”
The National Rally leader displayed a combative spirit following a bitter televised debate with Macron last week that buoyed some of her poll numbers.
C-News interviewed Le Pen, who called on the French to read her manifesto and recognize Macron’s failures. She responded to criticism that her policies did not hold up under scrutiny.
“I ask the French to read what I propose to do in response to Emmanuel Macron’s rampage and form their own opinions,” she said.
Her campaign focuses on purchasing power, the top priority of French voters, while softening her image. However, the core of her party’s anti-immigration, far-right policies remains unchanged.
Le Pen’s France First – both domestic and foreign policy – apparently has been started as she promised her people for a better economy policies.
Le Pen says she follows “nationalism and non-interventionism.”
Here are her main policy proposals:
* No income tax for those aged under 30
* VAT on energy at 5.5% from current 20%. VAT at 0% for essential products such as pasta and diapers as long as inflation is one point higher than growth
* No employer contributions on pay rises of up to 10%
* Early retirement at 60 for those who have worked 40 years
* Increase low pensions
* Scrap inheritance tax for middle and low income families. No tax on donations of up to 100,000 euros to a child or grandchild every ten years
* Only French citizens will have access to welfare benefits
* French nationals will be given preference in access to social housing and to jobs
* Stop family reunification for immigrant families
* Deportation of undocumented migrants, foreigners convicted of crimes
* Withdraw residency for migrants that are out of work for more than a year
* Remove birthright citizenship
* Asylum requests to be processed outside of France
* Re-establish mandatory sentencing and remove the possibility of reduced sentences
* Establish presumption of legitimate defence for security forces
* Strip French citizenship from people with extreme Islamist views
* Close mosques and Islamic associations deemed to contradict French constitutional values
* Ban the hijab and religious symbols in all public spaces and for parents on school trips
* Withdraw France from NATO’s integrated command
* French constitution to prevail over international law
* Create a “European Alliance of Nations” intended to progressively replace the European Union
* End Franco-German cooperation agreements established since 2017
* Stop wind turbine projects and dismantle existing ones
* Leave the European electricity market
* Invest in nuclear energy