Marine Le Pen

Passing on the Right

Ms Le Pen during an election campaign event on Sept 6 2015 in Marseille, France. Source picture alliance / AP Images
Marine Le Pen at an election campaign event in Marseille in September. Source picture alliance / AP Images
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Under the leadership of anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen, a possibility after presidential elections in 2017, France’s role in Europe could dramatically change.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Marine Le Pen leads France’s right-wing, anti-immigrant party National Front and is among the most popular French politicians.
    • Ms. Le Pen is expected to run for president in France’s 2017 elections, in a bid to succeed President François Hollande.
    • Her party could grow in popularity following the Islamist terror attacks in Paris two weeks ago, which killed 130 people.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Marine Le Pen likes to speak in blockbuster metaphors. “For the French, it’s like in Titanic,” she says, “down on the second and third-class decks, they’ve already figured out what’s going on, but in first class, they hardly even see the water rising.”

If she’d been at the helm, you’re probably supposed to think, even the Titanic might have been saved. When she talks about European refugee policy, she says, “It’s Mission to Mars!” The underlying message: the refugees are a meteorite on its way to wipe out our highly developed civilization.

Marine Le Pen likes drastic images, because everyone understands them straight away. A blockbuster doesn’t have to be clever or subtle. It puts its money on special effects: that’s how it gets a big audience.

A typical blockbuster genre is the president film. In these films, the nation is always under threat, and there’s always a moment when the president addresses the people. That’s the kind of role Marine Le Pen is looking to play today.

It is Saturday, day 1 after the Islamist terror attacks in Paris, where 130 people were killed. Ms. Le Pen is actually on the campaign trail – there are regional elections at the beginning of December. The 47-year-old claims has suspended her campaigning, supposedly out of respect. She announced it on Twitter on the evening of the attacks. But the following afternoon, she is already giving a press conference at the party headquarters of the National Front. Through the camera, three French flags can be seen, arranged like a outstretched trident. Ms. Le Pen is there to be seen, too, on the podium. Stony-faced and deep voiced, in a statesmanlike tone: “My dear fellow citizens. We are living through a national tragedy. France weeps for its dead, and I also weep.”

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