If politics is no longer a linear line, the far-right is not very far
I interviewed Marine Le Pen twice. The first time was in 2015, shortly after the horrific terror attacks on the “Charlie Hebdo” newspaper, and the Jewish supermarket “HyperCacher”. Back then she was a European Parliament member and we met at her very small office in Strasbourg. Her schedule was very light. My request for an interview was accepted almost immediately and we spent more than two hours talking.
The second interview was completely different. It was in 2017, the first day of Le Pen’s official presidential campaign.
This time we met in her very large and very impressive office in Paris. The headquarters was full of people and advisors, the schedule was tight. Le Pen was as welcoming as ever, smiling patiently while I was breaking my teeth with basic French.
Other than her smile one more thing stayed the same, her message. 2017’s Le Pen, same as 2015’s, and 2012’s all emphasized the dangers of uncontrollable immigration, the loss of the “True French identity”.
French politics is no longer structured in the traditional way. The parties once considered anchors on the horizontal line are no longer relevant. One may claim that with these traditional parties losing power, the whole traditional structure collapses.
In 2012 she received 17.9% of the votes coming in third. Five years later she managed to go through to the second round, eventually receiving 33.9% of the votes. Yesterday, in the second round of the 2022 elections, Le Pen secured 41.5%.
She is no longer an anecdote, she is no longer an outcast, or on the fringe of French politics. Marine Le Pen, and her views, are a big part of the French political system, and of the French way of life.