Gilles Ivaldi, a CNRS researcher, compared the presidential programs of the two main far-right presidential candidates, Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour.
First of all, Everyone assigns an important place to the economy and the social. These questions cover nearly two-thirds (65%) of Eric Zemmour’s 385 proposals, compared to 74% of Marine Le Pen’s program.
Gilles Ivaldi first of all notes that the match between them is based on “credibility”. Marine Le Pen also recently ridiculed her competitor’s “caricature proposals”. As for the National Rally candidate, “the importance given to economic and social issues is part of a long-standing strategy that began after she took over the National Front in 2011,” the political scientist recalls.
This consideration is more recent for the Reconquista candidate, “driven” by the need to also move out of his status as a “niche” candidate focused on cultural themes.”
“The Crisis of Social Populism” by Marine Le Pen
Where the two candidates go is on the social issue. “In 2022, the social issue, in fact, underlies the presidential program of the RN candidate. […] Ten years ago, 59% of the NF’s economic proposals were already leaning towards the economic left “Redistributive and social protection measures account for two-thirds (66%) of the RN candidate’s economic and social proposals this year, the highest share since the NF broke into the French political scene,” analyzes Gilles Ivaldi. He notes that Marine Le Pen “bet very early on a crisis social populism with a strong social connotation.”
Measures include VAT cuts, wage increases, tax breaks or free transportation for young workers, the elimination of TICPE increases between 2015 and 2018, an exclusive tax on oil groups, pension increases and a minimum old age.
The RN nominee does not forget the “economically anchored right” with the “disappearance of several symbolic measures” such as her refusal to retire at 60 or the repeal of the labor law that featured in her 2017 program.
“Popular Capitalism” by Eric Zemmour.
On the contrary, Eric Zemmour staked on what Gilles Ivaldi calls “people’s capitalism”. “Only 43% measures of the Reconquista candidate! oriented to the right, more than twice that of Marine Le Pen”, he has compatibility, citing inheritance tax exemption and IFI, retirement at 64, tax exemption for overtime.
Several right-wing markers stand out in his program, such as a 15 billion euro cut in public spending or a promise to drop social security. The study notes that the candidate “adopts fiscal pujaism, which has long been a strong element of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s economic agenda.” taxpayers, it undertakes to catch those who work, those who pay for others, without saying a word, without flinching, this is no longer a tax administration, but a bureaucratic council. We demand an end to Bercy’s tyranny! »
However, Gilles Ivaldi notes that, apart from the “strong aspects of the campaign rhetoric”, Eric Zemmour is far from the liberal position of presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen. In 1986, liberal measures accounted for 79% of the FN program and 61% in 2002.
Eric Zemmour should also appeal to the most modest categories, promising a pay rise, fuel reimbursement or a €10,000 maternity allowance.
Protectionism in line with the expectations of its supporters
Finally, the study highlights that Eric Zemmour and Marine Le Pen agree with economic nationalism. Protectionist measures account for a quarter (25%) of Eric Zemmour’s economic project and 14% of Marine Le Pen’s.
The candidate, who has abandoned the idea of leaving the euro, advocates in 2022 for a “Polish model aimed at asserting the primacy of national law over European law.” A guide that we also find in Eric Zemmour. The study notes “the conformity of the candidates’ protectionist proposal with the expectations of their supporters: at least 42% of Eric Zemmour’s potential voters thus believe that “on an economic level, France should close more”. 36% of Lepenist voters against 30% of the electorate of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and only 18% of supporters of Emmanuel Macron. »
In conclusion, the political scientist notes that the impact of the war on the purchasing power of the French is beneficial to Marine Le Pen. “Having staked on the socio-populist program of the “crisis” with strong social overtones even before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the candidate from the National Association staked on appealing to France, weakened by the consequences of the pandemic, and, perhaps, on this occasion, laid the foundations for his exit in the second tour against Emmanuel Macron.