How Will Trump’s Win Affect France’s Upcoming Election?

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President-elect Donald Trump’s victory last week has injected populist, anti-establishment figures in France with newfound confidence as they prepare for their presidential election next spring. With primary elections for top far-right candidates starting this Saturday, some have used Trump’s win as an example of what France can also achieve.

“Mr. Trump wants to defend American interests? Fine, I want to defend French interests and those of Europe. What Americans allow themselves, why should we refuse that for France?” former President Nicolas Sarkozy said at a rally in Nice on Tuesday.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party, also expressed hope at a recent rally: “My election at the presidency has been called impossible for months now, it is up to the people to make it possible,” she said.

The West, with Brexit and the Trump movement as concrete examples, is in the midst of of an anti-immigration, anti-establishment swing. Mass migration and globalization are stirring populist forces, and new political movements are arising to ride their coattails. But other candidates think the movement Trump helped stoke will not reach France.

“I don’t want to pit one part of France against another, the elites against the people … It’s a dangerous political game,” Alain Juppe, a center-right candidate and ex-prime minister said at a Paris rally on Monday. Polls have Juppe ahead of Sarkozy in their primary face-off which begins this Saturday. Juppe is the mayor of Bordeaux.

France’s election will have two rounds: one in April and another in May, when the two two candidates to emerge from the first round will go head-to-head. France’s main pollsters predict Le Pen, a 48-year-old former lawyer, will make it to the second round, but lose in a landslide to whoever the center-right candidate will be, even with the boost Trump’s win provided her.

Whether she wins or not, Le Pen’s message certainly shares common themes with other right-wing parties in Europe. In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Le Pen shared her vision for the “comeback of France” her leadership would lead to:

“The nations are not triggering the war; it is ultra-liberalism, the disappearance of borders, the great migration of people … according to the ambitions of the multinationals that creates war. There have never been as many conflicts as there are today,” she said.

Le Pen has also called the European Union a “quasi-totalitarian political system,” promising a referendum on France’s membership–a “Frexit”–should she win the presidency. France’s current President Francois Hollande is deeply unpopular, but has not explicitly said he won’t run for another term.

Alec Siegel
Alec Siegel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. When he’s not working at Law Street he’s either cooking a mediocre tofu dish or enjoying a run in the woods. His passions include: gooey chocolate chips, black coffee, mountains, the Animal Kingdom in general, and John Lennon. Baklava is his achilles heel. Contact Alec at



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