French presidential elections 2017: “Madame Frexit”. What will France look like if Marine Le Pen wins the elections
Marine Le Pen has real chances of winning the French presidential elections, as the diference between the first 4 candidates is now smaller than ever, according to the last polls. Her chances increased also after the Champs Elysees terror attack claimed by ISIS. What would happen in France if the self-titled Madame Frexit storms to victory?
Of course, it would be a devastating blow for the the political establishment in France and, most important, for the EU.
If she triumphs, the anti-EU and anti-immigration populist leader of the Front National is expected to press the button of a huge political earthquake as right-wing populism sweeps across Europe in the wake of Brexit and Donald Trump’s election win.
Dubbing herself Madame Frexit, Le Pen, 48, has promised to call referendums over France’s membership of the EU and the eurozone. She even showed that she has no respect for the European idea, bringing her anti-European Union rhetoric at unthinkable levels, when her party called EU flag “oligarchic rag”.
3 scandalous promises
An authentic exponent of the wave of populism increasingly popular across Europe and America, Le Pen has welcomed and cherished both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
She calls the globalisation and Islamic fundamentalism as the “two totalitarianisms” of the new millennium.
Among the most important promises of Marine Le Pen are: pulling France out of the Eurozone and reshaping alliances with the European partners, leaving the EU’s Schengen zone, reintroducing national borders and withdrawing France from NATO’s integrated command.
France, a close friend of Russia
Under Le Pen, France would be a friend of Russia, a country that she doesn’t consider a threat at all. This would alter definitively the key relation with Germany, especially in the perspective of Frexit.
She openly said that she admires Vladimir Putin. She even visited him in Russia, claiming that Russia and France need to unite to fight global terrorism.
In turn, Vladimir Putin told that Russia had no intention of interfering in France’s presidential election, which implicitly confirm that this is a real possibility.
Cutting drastically immigration and the free movement
Domestically, the far-right politician plans to increase taxes on imports and job contracts for foreigners as well as reduce immigration to a quota of 10,000 people a year. This would be a dramatic change, as France usually welcomes around 200,000 immigrants per year.
And this is not all. Le Pen plans to ban organisations and deport all foreigners linked to Islamist fundamentalists, to close extremist mosques and stop their financing from abroad, ban the public financing of cults, and fight jihadist networks by stripping bi-nationals of their French citizenship and via deportations and preventive detention.
Le Pen said that, without waiting for the outcome of EU negotiations, she would immediately suspend France’s membership of the Schengen border-free area and put back passport checks at its borders with its EU neighbours.
Also being born in France would not confer right to citizenship anymore.
Among the reforms she would carry out within her first two months in power are: expulsion of all foreigners being monitored by intelligence services, stripping dual citizens of their French nationality when convicted of links with jihadism, cutting the lower three income tax brackets by 10 percent, denying free access to basic healthcare to illegal migrants.
Returning to franc is almost a certainty if Marine Le Pen wins the presidential elections. As a matter of fact, leaving the euro is at the heart of her programme. She even tried, in vain, to reassure business leaders worried about her plans to dump the euro, saying that new French francs “probably” would not drop in value.
Planning to hold a referendum on France’s use of the euro, she says the currency is a problem because of differences in competitiveness with Germany.
“Bringing back national currencies would allow each country to re-establish their real value and that is what would happen. Would that lead to a devaluation of the new franc? Probably not,” she said.
She added however that new German marks would surge in value because the euro was too weak for the German economy while being too strong for the French economy.
In order to balance the economy after leaving euro, Le Pen intends to focus on small and mid-sized companies.
Referendum on EU membership
Election would be immediately followed by six months of talks with EU partners to radically change France’s membership and turn the bloc into a loose cooperative of countries: no more euro, border-free area, EU budget rules or pre-eminence of EU law.
If she does not manage to radically change the bloc from the inside, Le Pen will recommend leaving, so most likely scenario is “Frexit.”
Protectionism, the new rule for employers
Under Le Pen, public procurement would be open only to French firms as long as the price difference is not too large. Also, employers who hire foreigners would pay an extra tax. It would be worth 10 percent of the salary.
Building new jails
Marine Le Pen plans to boost defence spending, as France would leave NATO’s integrated military command. This means 15,000 new police officers, building new jails to host another 40,000 inmates.
Economic targets- GDP growth, taxes and deficit cut
Le Pen targets GDP growth of 2 percent in 2018, well above the Bank of France’s 1.4 percent forecast. Also, she sees the public deficit at 4.5 percent of GDP in 2018, down to 1.3 percent at the end of the mandate in 2022. She says debt to be cut to 89 percent of GDP by 2022.
For very small and medium-sized businesses, she intends to cut payroll tax and lower the corporate tax rate.
Lower retirement age, child benefits for all
Socially, Le Pen wants to lower retirement age to 60, increase aid to the very poor elderly, give child benefits to all without conditions, and cut by 5 percent the regulated price of gas and electricity.
But let’s not forget that if elected president, Le Pen would also have to win parliamentary elections in June to be able to carry out most of her plans.