French presidential elections; what would have happened if Le Pen won?

On Sunday Emanuele Macron won France’s presidential elections averting a historic challenge from far-right candidate Marine Le Pen gaining 58.5% of the votes against 41% for Le Pen, but what if everything happened an opposite situation? And what would the win of Le Pen mean for Russia?

What could have meant the win of Le Pen for Russia?

Let’s start from 2017 when Le Pen met Putin in Moscow before the elections. Back then she made it clear that she wished France left NATO as it was created to fight against the USSR and since it collapsed there was no sense in its existence.

Moreover, she blamed NATO for the tensions between Moscow and the Western countries. When giving comments about Russia’s actions in Syria, Le Pen stated that Russia was going in the right direction and expressed her support for the foreign policy of the Russian president.

Back in 2014 when Russia held a referendum in Crimea when people voted to rejoin Russia the results of this referendum were not recognized by the majority of the countries and sanctions were introduced against Russia.

However, despite the accusations against Russia from all European leaders of violating an international law, Le Pen expressed her support for the taken decision and claimed that there was no invasion of Crimea, because Crimea had always been a part of Russia.

Moreover, she did not doubt the legitimacy of the referendum held in Crimea. This way, she had always been against imposing sanctions on Russia.

In the present

Now, let’s get back to these days. Before 24th February Le Pen was one of the few politicians who was assuring that the invasion in Ukraine was not possible, and she still did not lose hope for an alliance with Russia.

However, she was wrong. When Russia started its “military operation” even Le Pen judged its actions.

Nonetheless, she is one of few politicians that are against sanctions and constantly criticizes the EU for imposing them, since they are hitting French companies and private individuals.

Le Pen also argues that France should not deliver any heavy weapon to Ukraine as it would make the country a “co-belligerent” on the side of Ukraine. Even though Le Pen is clearly against war, she still hopes that once it is over, Putin can become an ally of France again.

Such statements make her opponents suspicious of the closeness of her relationship with the Russian president. Many, including the Russian opposition, accused Le Pen of being bribed by Putin.

For example, Navalny (a Russian opposition leader) stated that Le Pen is too closely linked to Kremlin as she took a loan from a Russian bank in 2014 for her party for over 9 million dollars. This fact made Navalny accuse Le Pen of “selling political influence to Putin”.

Moreover, before the recent election, the opposition leader urged the French people to vote for Macron.

Speaking of Macron, during the debate with his electoral contestant he also used as an argument the loan taken in the Russian bank, saying: “You are speaking to your banker when you speak of Russia, that’s the problem, Madame Le Pen”.

However, Le Pen denies all the allegations and admits that the loan was signed at 6% which is an extremely advantageous offer that other banks did not propose.

To sum up, it is necessary to admit that no one provided proof of either a tight link between President Putin and French candidate Le Pen or a sponsorship from the Russian government. 

It is clear that, if Madame Le Pen had won the elections, an alliance between the two countries would have been as strong as ever. However, it did not happen and now we shall see what will happen in the future relationship between these two countries.

Anastasiia Prokofeva

Sources:

https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-paris-presidential-elections-campaigns-85cae78cb523694641766896ad215df5

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/04/24/europe/french-election-results-macron-le-pen-intl/index.html

https://www.euronews.com/2022/04/20/french-election-alexei-navalny-says-le-pen-too-close-to-putin-and-calls-on-voters-to-back-

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/24/emmanuel-macron-wins-french-presidential-election-say-projected-results

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/22/world/europe/le-pen-putin-france-election.html

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