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Could Marine Le Pen be France's next president?

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In the race to elect France's next president, Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far right National Front, has emerged as a frontrunner. Daughter of controversial party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine has spent her entire life in public and political circles, reported Seeker.
She's survived bomb attacks on her family home carried out by enemies of her father and campaigned with him for decades.

Eventually, Le Pen replaced her father as the leader of the National Front and cleaned up the party's controversial, xenophobic image. But the apple didn't fall too far from the tree. She's pledged to tighten France's immigration policy, reintroduce its national currency, and launch a movement to "Frexit." So why is Marine Le Pen so controversial?


Ms Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front, has indicated that she hopes to reintroduce a national currency if she is elected president in May. In a recent speech, she suggested that government bonds would be redenominated in francs instead of euros, reported The Economist.

The proposal was dressed up in technicalities. The franc would be revived as a “parallel” currency for official transactions and used alongside the euro in a version of the systems (the snake and the exchange-rate mechanism) that existed in the 1970s and 1980s. Such schemes tied European currencies together but were subject to regular crises, with France periodically devaluing the franc.

Investors would pretty quickly see through the façade. There is not much point in bringing back a national currency unless you want the right to devalue it. And there is not much point in redenominating government bonds in francs unless you want to pay creditors back less than they expected. (This might technically count as a default, according to Moody’s, a rating agency; it depends on the exact circumstances.) If that happened, it could trigger an enormous financial crisis in Europe. After all, if France were to devalue, what would stop the Italians or the Greeks from following suit?

It all makes for a tricky calculation for investors, multiplying the probability of a Le Pen victory against the potential decline in the value of French bonds if it occurs. The consensus is that, even if Ms Le Pen makes it through to the second round of the presidential election, she will be defeated easily. That is what happened to her father in 2002, when voters united around the conservative Jacques Chirac. Gamblers put the odds of a Le Pen victory at around 30%.


Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, said she favored making it illegal to be a dual citizen of France and other countries outside Europe – including Israel and the United States, reported Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Le Pen, who according to some polls is the leading candidate in France’s presidential elections in May, spoke about dual French-Israeli nationality in replying to a question Thursday during a 2-hour interview on the France 2 television channel.

Nearly an hour into the interview, the French-Lebanese journalist Lea Salame asked Le Pen to “clarify” certain aspects of her plan to outlaw dual nationality in France for French citizens who are also nationals of non-European countries.

Asked whether this applied to Russia, which is in Europe but is not a member of the European Union, Le Pen said: “You know very well I want a Europe of nations and Russia belongs to it,” Le Pen said.
Salame asked Le Pen whether her plan was to make it impossible for Moroccans and Americans to have dual passports, while allowing it for Russians. “Yes, that’s what it’s like in Germany,” Le Pen retorted.

“Does your Europe extend to Israel, and let me clarify: Will you demand that French Jews renounce their Israeli dual citizenship?” Salame asked, to which Le Pen replied: “Israel is not a European country and I see that Israel itself accepts this assertion and opinion. So I’m against dual nationality outside Europe.”

Since its establishment by Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen’s father and the owner of multiple convictions for Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred against Jews, National Front has been accused of espousing anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims and other forms of xenophobia.

Under Marine Le Pen, the party has softened its image, including by kicking out anti-Semitic members like Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was excluded from the party in 2015. Marine Le Pen has wooed Jewish voters, promising to be their “shield” against radical Islam. In this framework, she said French Jews should be banned from wearing kippahs in some public spheres to preserve equality and facilitate further bans on wearing Muslim religious clothing. She asked French Jews make this “sacrifice.”

Repeating her question, Salame during the France 2 interview asked Le Pen: “So you would ask French Jews who have dual nationality with Israel to renounce their Israeli nationality?” To which Le Pen replied: “Excuse me, them and others. They can remain Israeli. I’m asking them to choose their nationality.”
Many countries, including the Netherlands and other E.U. member states, have laws forbidding their citizens from assuming a second citizenship, or requiring them to relinquish any foreign nationality.

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