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.

AP

Associated Press

California forest fire temporarily strands July 4th revelers

JACKSON, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California wildfire chewed through a mountainous region near Sacramento Tuesday after forcing evacuations in two counties. The Electra Fire erupted Monday afternoon at a recreation area in Sierra Nevada Gold Country that was packed with Fourth of July revelers, forcing 85 to 100 people celebrating the holiday at a […]
8 hours ago
FILE - An advertisement for Bitcoin cryptocurrency is displayed on a street in Hong Kong on Feb. 17...
Associated Press

Bank of England: Crypto crashes show need for tougher rules

LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England warned Tuesday that recent cryptocurrency meltdowns that wiped out more then $2 trillion in value highlight the need for tougher financial regulations The U.K.’s central bank said that the crashes exposed vulnerabilities in the crypto markets reminiscent of previous bouts of financial turmoil. Extreme volatility in the crypto […]
8 hours ago
Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal...
Associated Press

US seeks focus on ‘urgent’ needs of Ukraine at Swiss meeting

LUGANO, Switzerland (AP) — A top U.S. diplomat on Tuesday urged allies of Ukraine to help the war-battered country meet its “immediate and urgent” needs — not only longer-term rebuilding — as scores of countries wrapped up a two-day conference aimed at helping Ukraine recover from Russia’s war, when it ends one day. Scott Miller, […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Sheriff: Kentucky police fatally shot man who fired at them

INEZ, Ky. (AP) — Police in eastern Kentucky fatally shot a man who fired at responding officers, a sheriff said. Martin County Sheriff John Kirk told WSAZ-TV that two Kentucky State Police troopers and a Martin County deputy responded Monday night to a call about gunshots being fired near the Davella community and a man […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

COVID nursing home deaths claim is campaign trail mainstay

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor, has made a campaign staple out of the allegation that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s policy of readmitting COVID-19 patients from hospitals to nursing homes caused thousands of deaths — a baseless claim for which no investigator or researcher has provided any evidence. In fact, […]
8 hours ago
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during a media conference at the end of a NATO summit i...
Associated Press

Spain boosts military spending to close gap with NATO goal

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain is increasing military spending as it works toward meeting a NATO commitment by dedicating 2% of gross domestic product to defense, the government said Tuesday. Cabinet members approved a one-off expenditure of almost 1 billion euros (around $1.04 billion) for Spain’s Defense Ministry that the government said was needed to […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Far-right Le Pen campaigns as French ‘voice of the people’