Marine Le Pen and her National Rally movement set to win France’s snap legislative elections
Marine Le Pen and her National Rally movement set to win France’s snap legislative elections

The impending surge of Marine Le Pen in France

1 July, 2024

Examining the momentum behind Le Pen’s National Rally

Marine Le Pen and her National Rally movement have emerged as the leading force in the European elections this year and appear poised to also secure victory in France’s sudden legislative elections, starting with the first round held this past weekend. According to the latest polls, all indicators show the impending surge of Marine Le Pen in France putting her comfortably in the lead, with the left-wing alliance (the New People’s Front) trailing in second place, and Macron’s liberal centrist coalition in third.

This marks another significant milestone for Marine Le Pen and her movement, which has steadily increased its support over the past twenty-five years. Starting at 4% in the legislative elections’ first round in 2007, rising to nearly 14% in 2012, 13% in 2017, and now nearing 19%, Le Pen’s national populist party has consistently expanded its base.

Today, the final polls project Le Pen and her movement to capture around 36% of the vote — more than a third of the electorate.

Central to this populist surge is not just Marine Le Pen herself, but Jordan Bardella — her charismatic and articulate 28-year-old protege who aims to become France’s next prime minister should Le Pen, Bardella, and their movement secure an outright majority of 289 seats.

This begs the question: how has a movement often labeled as ‘far right’, ‘racist’, and likened to historical fascism garnered support from such a significant portion of French voters?

Some on the left attribute this to economic hardships and a rising cost of living affecting hardworking French citizens. However, this explanation oversimplifies the deeper roots of the National Rally’s popularity.

The party’s ascent has been decades in the making, driven not merely by economic factors but by Le Pen’s staunch stances on immigration and crime — issues increasingly linked in official government statistics.

Despite foreigners constituting 8% of France’s population, they account for 24% of prison inmates, committed 77% of rapes in Paris, 54% of street crimes in Nice, and significant percentages of other offenses nationwide.

Recent events, such as brutal attacks carried out by individuals like the Syrian asylum-seeker in Annecy. Like a vicious attack against a 76-year old lady in Bordeaux and her 7-year old grand-daughter that was perpetrated by a homeless man of African descent with 15 previous convictions. like the beating and rape of a 12-year old Jewish girl by 3 boys aged 12 to 13 in an attack inspired by the Hamas pogrom of October 7th.

Addressing what many French perceive as a critical societal moment, Le Pen has termed this phenomenon the ‘ensauvagement’ (ensavagement) of French society, a view resonating deeply with a considerable segment of the population.

In summary, while economic factors play a role, the sustained rise of Le Pen’s National Rally reflects broader societal concerns around immigration and public safety, resonating with voters seeking a decisive response to these issues.

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