Macron vs Le Pen: What Will France Be Like After the Elections
On May far-right firebrand Marine Le Pen and centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron will face one another in the final round of the French presidential election. They received 21.53% and 23.75% percent of votes respectively in the first round of the elections, which was held on April 23.
”Armedia” IAA looked through the approaches and ideas of the two candidates concerning both domestic and foreign policies.
MARINE LE PEN
Taking into consideration the frequent terrorist attacks in the recent years in France, Marine Le Pen’s electoral program pays great attention to the national security. In particular Le Pen promises to increase the number of police and Gendarmerie, as well as capabilities of the French intelligence services and the combat readiness of the French armed forces. Le Pen gives a promise to her voters also to increase defense spending by up to 3 percent of GDP.
She reaffirmed her intention to prohibit cultural organizations and to close down mosques spreading radical Islamic values.
Right-wing politician also plans to reduce the number of deputies and senators, cancel the labor law adopted in 2016 which allows employers to increase the terms of the working week to 60 hours.
Marine Le Pen denounces the current corporate tax as “a crying injustice”. She claims that large enterprises pay only 8% of corporate tax, whereas the small offices/home offices, small and medium enterprises, the craftsmen and the shopkeepers fully pay 33.33%. She advocates to implement a flexible corporate tax according to the use of profits.
Le Pen stands for a radical change in migration policy, aimed at dramatically reducing the flow of illegal immigrants. She is going to strengthen border control and deportation of potentially dangerous Islamists. She said that “Europe can’t welcome everyone… We would be pleased to take them all in our boat, but it’s not big enough. We’ll all go to the bottom. We would be adding one misery to another”. Marine Le Pen seeks to establish a moratorium on legal immigration.
Among the important theses of Marine Le Pen’s campaign is to review relations with the EU. In particular, she intends to start negotiations about fundamental changes in the Union and then the French society through a referendum will say whether wants to stay in the EU or not. Marine Le Pen is confident that the European Union has hit France’s sovereignty, preventing the French to protect themselves. She also highlighted the negative impact of EU membership on the economy, saying that the 9 billion euro, which the country now gives to Europe, can do quite a lot for France. She is a strong opponent of the Euro and advocates France to leave the common currency.
Le Pen has called on the privileged partnership with Russia. In late March during her official visit to Moscow by the invitation of the Russian State Duma, she promised to cancel all sanctions against Russia, to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. In addition, she has repeatedly expressed support for Russia’s fight against terrorism, stressing that without cooperation with Russia it will not be able to defeat the terrorism. At the same time, she said that during its presidency, France will not accept Russia’s interests.
Although Le Pen received Donald Trump’s victory with great enthusiasm, but in her recent statements she largely disagrees with Trump policy. Le Pen particular dislike continuation by Trump administration of the previous policy of interfering in the affairs of other countries. Le Pen and her team also made a severe criticism about the American missile attack of Syrian air base and the early assessments of chemical attack in Idlib.
Emanuel Macron’s domestic policy focuses on the weakening of the split of the French society into right and left wings. At the same time against the background of the recent terrorist attacks in France, Macron also promises to strengthen police and defense system, increase the military budget and the number of security forces, as well as create a joint defense system with Germany to make Paris not so dependent on this issue from NATO or the United States. Macron also promises to reduce unemployment to 7.7 percent by 2020 and to increase minimum pensions and disability pensions to 100 euros.
Macron, unlike Le Pen, is not against migrants in such a drastic way. In this connection, he wrote on his Twitter page that supports all those who are fleeing from wars and hostilities. He also expressed support for the EU’s migration policy.
As President, however, Macron plans certain changes in immigration policy. In particular, he offers to choose whom to allow to “enter the country,” adding visa quotas to talented and professional people, facilitating the students’ access to the French labor market. Macron also recommends strengthening the borders in order to protect the country from the illegal immigration.
Macron is a pro-European candidate. He stands for the EU to strengthen its position, and for this purpose he proposes to reform the union. Macron promises to adopt a tougher stance on Brexit negotiations. “I’ll be very tough negotiator because we have to preserve the rest of the EU,” Macron said.
Although as the Minister of Economy Macron had made calls to cancel sanctions against Russia, but now he can hardly be called pro-Russian candidate. Macron has already stated that he will “make” Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect him, and he is going to speak with Russia on a pan-European basis. Macron’s team has repeatedly accused Russia of interfering into France presidential elections, including subjecting their party sites cyber attacks , as well as spreading false information about Macron by major Russian media.
Although Macron has not clearly expressed about the relations with the United States, but from his statements on various issues, we can assume that he is going to cooperate with the latter in Syria: Macron has repeatedly stated that France should intensify its fight against ISIS within the US-led coalition.