Marine Le Pen won’t be president this time. She’s still winning.

Marine Le Pen won’t be president this time. She’s still winning. By Jonathon Fenby.

At 48, the Front National leader can afford to play a long game, and she’s running rings around the mainstream right

Marine Le Pen can be excused for thinking her time has come. With six months to go until France’s presidential election, the left-wing government of François Hollande has produced only one winner, and it is her. She’s providing the Gallic contribution to the insurgent charge epitomised elsewhere by Brexit and Donald Trump. …


Marine Le Pen, 2005

Her message on the need to protect France’s borders resonates, especially as the Hollande government sets about dispersing the famous ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais, a move which has provoked protests in the towns to which the refugees are being bused.

And her calls to step up the fight against Islamic fundamentalism, erect protectionist trade barriers and hold a referendum on France’s membership of the European Union also chime with the mood of the times. …

In speeches this autumn … former president Nicolas Sarkozy … proposed locking up anybody merely suspected of Islamic radicalisation and played heavily to nativism. In short, he tried to out-Le Pen Le Pen. …

[Le Pen] is credited with 28–30 per cent support for the first round of the presidential poll — ten points more than she won last time, and ahead of any mainstream candidate. That would qualify her for the two-person runoff, which nobody thinks she would win. But, at 48, she can take her time; she said four years ago that the 2022 election was her real goal. She would have shown that almost a third of voters were ready to cast their initial ballots her way and cemented the Front’s claim to be France’s biggest political movement.

hat-tip Stephen Neil