Far-right Le Pen campaigns as French ‘voice of the people’

Apr 12, 2022, 1:09 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen poses for a photo after a press conference Tuesday, April 12,...

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen poses for a photo after a press conference Tuesday, April 12, 2022 in Vernon, west of Paris. The thought of an extreme-right leader standing at the helm of the European Union would be abhorrent to most in the 27-nation bloc. But if Emmanuel Macron falters in the April 24 French presidential elections, it might be two weeks away. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

VERNON, France (AP) — Far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Tuesday described France as a nation that would put its people’s voices at the center of the political process if she is elected president in 12 days.

Le Pen, a solid nationalist, faces centrist President Emmanuel Macron in a presidential runoff on April 24. He placed first and Le Pen second in Sunday’s first-round presidential vote that eliminated 10 other candidates. Both Le Pen and Macron are now aggressively campaigning to win an election that could upend France’s system of governance and Europe’s dynamics should Le Pen be victorious.

In a dramatic change, new laws could be passed or old laws modified in a referendum proposed by citizens, with conditions such as 500,000 signatures backing the proposal . Such a system was demanded two years ago by the sometimes violent yellow vest movement for social and economic justice that challenged Macron’s government as being too business-friendly.

In Sunday’s first round of voting for the country’s next president, the far-right, including Le Pen and two other parties, together won 32% of the vote, compared to Macron’s 27.8% support, although he was the top individual candidate. Still, that means far-right voters can be expected to factor into France’s political future not just in the next two weeks, but for years, even if Le Pen loses.

Le Pen also wants two-thirds of the 577 seats in France’s lower house of parliament to be allotted by the proportional system to better reflect voters’ choices. Her anti-immigration National Rally party currently holds 8 seats.

Le Pen claimed that democracy would be the main beneficiary of these changes, giving citizens who represent what she calls “the France of the forgotten” a say in how they are governed.

Having referendums can contribute to France’s democratic culture, Le Pen said Tuesday at a news conference in the Normandy town of Vernon. A small crowd of local opponents cried “Facist!” while supporters shouted back “Marine, president!” as she left the hotel to meet the press.

“During my mandate, I count on consulting the only expert that Emmanuel Macron never consulted –the people,” Le Pen said.

Le Pen would also return the French presidency to a seven-year non-renewable mandate, instead of the current five-year term that can be renewed once.

“I want to be the president who gives back the people their voice in their own country,” she said.

The French Constitution would have to be revised to make possible the referendum concept possible, and vital subjects like nuclear power could not be put to a vote.

Also needing a constitutional change would be Le Pen’s plan, if elected, to ban Islamic headscarves in French streets. That’s a big step further than current laws, which ban headscarves in classrooms since 2004 and face-coverings in the streets since 2010. With an estimated 5 million Muslims in France, headscarves are commonly worn by many Muslim women.

“We must leave no space, not a thumb space,” for Islamists, Le Pen said, adding that she wants to “liberate” French Muslim women from the yoke of radicals.

France has faced several deadly attacks by Islamic extremists in the past decade, including the 2015 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead.


Follow all AP stories on France’s 2022 presidential election at https://apnews.com/french-election-2022.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

8 hours ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

9 hours ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

1 day ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

3 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

3 days ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Far-right Le Pen campaigns as French ‘voice of the people’