The Guardian reports that while Marine LePen as the next president of France might seem far-fetched in 2017, so, too, did the idea of a Brexit and a Trump election victory in 2016.
Underneath is the general sense of malaise, with economic growth barely reaching 1% last year and close to 25% youth unemployment; a resentment one encounters at every turn against a political class seen as remote, self-serving and corrupt; and a widespread desire to give the whole bloody system a good kicking. While Fillon is not from the classic Parisian elite, he is clearly of the establishment. As one person close to Le Pen put it: “Fillon, il est système.” And then history just seems to be going this way at the moment, with Trump and Brexit normalising populist choices.
Last but not least, Le Pen is a strong candidate, the very model of a modern populist, who marshals all these arguments forcefully. Take a look at the Front National official Facebook page and watch her Wednesday evening TV interview embedded there. There she is, smiling down from the top of the page, with a nice blue rose (appropriating the Socialists’ symbol, but changing the colour) that lies horizontally between the words “Marine” and “Présidente”. Note the “e” on the end of “Président”: she would be France’s first female president.