Jean-Marie Le Pen knocks the presidential elections for six

Everything is possible, because, you see, the voters have proven their audacity. They have proven their lucidity and they can carry on because they have had enough of the state which was France. They are showing their desire for change. Jean-Marie Le Pen is the man of the people, so everything is possible.

My reaction is that I’m in paradise.

The militants of the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s party, are celebrating an electoral result which has sent shock waves throughout the country. Le Pen has gained approximately 17% of the vote. The Prime Minister Lionel Jospin won’t take part in the second round of the presidential elections, which wasn’t foreseen before the vote. He has even announced that he is going to retire from political life.

The second round will therefore bring the current President Jacques Chirac and Jean-Marie Le Pen together.

Le Pen’s slogan is ‘France for the French’. His speeches denounce immigrants as being the source of all evil in French society. This result is a catastrophe, firstly for the immigrant population, but it’s also believed to be an embarrassment for the country in the face of the international community.

For the socialist militants gathered in front of the results being transmitted directly to television, the shock was total:

– It’s not true! It’s unbelievable!

Lionel Jospin 16%, Francois Bayrou 6.6%, Arlette Laguiller 6.4%, Jean-Pierre Chevenement 5.3%…

There are several explanations for this result. Firstly, there was an abstention rate of approximately 40%, which exceeds all records. And that was mostly in districts which traditionally support the Socialist Party. Jospin didn’t conduct a very dynamic electoral campaign; his image is somewhat cold and it’s clear that he didn’t manage to mobilise all his supporters.

He also had to fight against three extreme left parties and against three ‘allies’ from his coalition government who stood against him. This translated into a big split of votes and his militants were quick to condemn all the competitors who ought to have been in his camp.

It’s a big shock, yes, … because it’s a denial of democracy after five years of what I consider to be social progress. Personally, I think that the responsibility is largely due to the position of the extreme left parties in France, which, in a totally deadly move, decided to lead to this… the extreme left, Arlette Laguiller, Olivier Besancenot, and to a lesser extent, Mr. Gluckstein, take a large part of the responsibility.

This evening we are pretty shook up, eh? This is a real danger for democracy to see Le Pen with 17% of the vote. I think that the spread of votes in the first round between the candidates of the extreme left and Chevenement contributed to the downfall of Jospin in the first round. So it’s… it’s pretty dramatic.

President Jacques Chirac’s decision to exploit the theme of security also opened the door for Le Pen. It focused the debate on his ground of partiality. For the Chirac supporters there was certainly an atmosphere:

Le Pen being in the second round, good, it’s true that it will make the task easier for us. But seeing Le Pen in the second round, for the image of France abroad, is really not desirable. So, it’s mixed, but ok, we are slightly comforted, eh.

First, I notice that Jacques Chirac achieved a score pretty much equivalent to that which he had in 1995. The seismic politics come from somewhere else, from Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is in the second round of the presidential elections. OK, I believe that the socialists are in the process of paying for the insecurity which they brought about, whereby they didn’t know how to resolve the insecurity in our country. No, there it is, the problem is that and quite simply that. It’s not the ravages of power, as Jean-Marie Le Pen would have it of the two candidates; it’s simply that the people voted because they didn’t feel good in their city, their district, in their communities. They had permanent problems, therefore, now, there has been a vote of reaction, and there we have it. And I think that we’ll see this vote once, but perhaps not twice.

But all the reasoning on the campaigns and the split of votes doesn’t hide the fact that one French person in five stands up for the programmes which are hostile to immigrants. Why the extreme right? Why Le Pen?

Why? Because he is French. I think there is only him who could give us back the France of Louis XIV.

Their joy is total.

Well, now, my reaction, it’s that now we have the second round, eh, it’s LA TEF And then good, now, the sovereignty of France, we will see, we will see… it’s been happening for years and years, we always repeat the same things, and I’d like to say, Le Pen in the second round, it had to happen. The only man to tell the truth, was it him? It’s been Jean-Marie Le Pen for years. We know it all, the problems, the insecurity, immigration and all that comes with it. So, hey presto, there you are!

And it gives a bad image of France abroad? For sure the militants don’t think so.

Not at all, not at all, not at all. With respect to abroad, look, in the European countries, in Italy, in Austria, eh, look, therefore, that means at the end of the day the people, totally sick and tired of it all, they open their eyes and they see. They no longer have a choice. Now, good, in the second round, Mr Chirac, Mr Le Pen. It remains to be seen what the guys from the left are going to do. It’s up to them to choose.

$Id: 2002_04_act.htm 35 2021-02-12 12:17:35Z alistair $

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