Tag Archives: Marine Le Pen


Ahead of this weekend’s voting, President Emmanuel Macron and rival Marine Le Pen held an acrimonious telly debate where they clashed over relations with Russia, the Islamic headscarf and the jab.

Via France 24:

The most explosive clash came when Le Pen confirmed she was sticking to her controversial policy of banning the wearing of the Islamic headscarf by women in public, describing it as a “uniform imposed by Islamists”.

Macron responded: “You are going to cause a civil war if you do that. I say this sincerely.”

She also vowed to put an end to “anarchic and massive” immigration into France, claiming it was worsening crime which she said was becoming “unbearable” for people all over the country.

Macron, Le Pen in final poll campaigning rush after bitter debate (France 24)



France 24

From top: Marine Le Pen; Jerome Riviera, Paddy Cosgrave

Email from Luan McKenna, of the Web Summit, to Mr Riviera, spokesperson for Marine Le Pen’s party (click to enlarge)

Yesterday, The international spokesman for Marine Le Pen’s French far-right party National Rally, Jerome Riviera, tweeted an email he received from Luan McKenna, of the Web Summit, on July 18, 2018.

It was a follow-up to an email Mr McKenna had sent two days previously in which he outlined the Web Summit’s plans for Ms Le Pen to attend the event in Lisbon, Portugal, later this year.

On July 18, Mr McKenna essentially resent his initial email which included the line:

“You mentioned that Marine would be interested in talking about ‘fake news’ and the responsibility tech companies have in stopping the spread of it. This is a very important topic for me and I would love to have Marine speak about this.

“In terms of format, I mentioned on the phone that I would like to have Marine do two items. One would be a keynote address and the other would be a panel discussion. I would obviously check with you to make sure Marine was happy with any other panelists we suggest.”

After it was reported earlier this week that Ms Le Pen was lined up to speak at the Web Summit, and the decision was heavily criticised, it’s co-founder Paddy Cosgrave initially posted a blog post defending his decision.

He wrote:

Web Summit is a place where people should be prepared to have their opinions deeply challenged, and in turn to deeply challenge the opinions of others.”


“…these speakers are not invited to deliver an uncontested address, but are instead invited to have their views thoroughly challenged and scrutinised by a professional journalist.

Moreover they sit on a panel, surrounded by authoritative and alternative voices who will openly contest the extreme viewpoints of these speakers. This has always been the case, and will be the case with Marine Le Pen.”


On Wednesday, Mr Cosgrave rescinded the initiated to Ms Le Pen.

Previously: Le Plonker


Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave, rebranded logo on twitter and tweet from journalist Philip O’Connor

Paddy Cosgrave has withdrawn his invitation for French far right politician Marine Le Pen to speak at his Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in November.

In a series of tweets, he explained having Ms Le Pen at the event would be “disrespectful” to “our host country”.

Last night, he wrote a blog post defending his decision to invite her, saying

“…the easy decision for Web Summit is to shirk robust debate with those who hold extreme views of this nature. The easy decision for Web Summit is to rescind Marine Le Pen’s invitation.

“But for now we have chosen not to because we believe banning or attempting to ignore these views, which have been fanned in our view by technology, does little to furthering understanding.”

This afternoon, he tweeted the following…

Nice work, brah.

Earlier: A Limerick A Day




From top: Emmanuel Macron Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen; Shene Heneghan

With four candidates within 3% of one another in the polls, France’s presidential election remains volatile. The two most dramatic statistics frequently ignored in the past few weeks, however, are the high level of undecided voters (as much as one third) and those who say they won’t vote (about 28% in a country where 80% turnouts are the norm).

All this, together with the tragic shooting of a policeman in central Paris just days before voting make this easily the toughest French presidential election to call in the history of the 5th republic.

A year ago, many pundits would have said the election of Marine Le Pen as president was considerably more likely than that of Donald Trump or a vote for Brexit and she has done her best to make the most of these two events.

Her campaign has been scandal-ridden from the off with allegations of misappropriation of funds from the European Parliament to loan agreements with those close to the Kremlin in Russia. Despite all this, and despite her party’s poor record in other recent elections (the FN was expected to make breakthroughs in the most recent regional elections but failed) she is still the woman to beat.

If she wins, France’s place in the euro and the EU itself are both very much up for discussion and without France, the continued existence of both is unlikely.

Her main rival began this campaign as an outsider, but as a man who fell in love with, then subsequently married his secondary school French teacher, Emmanuel Macron is used to overcoming the odds.

Apart from a brief stint as economy minister under President Hollande he has no government experience. He left government to set up his own centrist, grassroots, staunchly pro-EU political movement, “En Marche” which has since gone from strength to strength. He now has a strong chance of meeting it through to the 2nd round.

Another candidate firing up his party base is veteran left winger Jean-Luc Mélenchon- who is perhaps best described as a French Bernie Sanders. Like Sanders, he has been drawing big numbers to rallies recently – even to ones where he appears by hologram. Though turnout with the far left is always an issue and most polls have him a few points behind he cannot be ruled out from getting through on Sunday.

The early favourite for this contest was the centre-right’s Francois Fillon who saw poll numbers tumble when it emerged he may have been paying his wife around half a million euro a year to do more or less nothing.

Despite this fall from grace, he is still hovering around 20% in polls, doing very well among the over 60s and Catholics (two groups with consistently high turnout) and benefits from a well-resourced campaign. Staunchly opposing adoption rights for same sex couples and in favour of limiting immigration and stronger relations with Russia, Fillon can be described as being on the right of his own party.

One of the main advantages Fillon would have over his rivals if he were elected is the ability to form a Parliamentary majority after the election. Officially speaking at least, none of the other three can count on more than a handful of MPs in the Assemblee Nationale.

The legislative elections that happen within a few weeks of the second round of the presidential election are bound to give the incumbent a boost but it would be highly unlikely that any of these three movements came close to an outright majority. Fillon himself has his rivals in his own party and may not always get his own way in Parliament.

We can say therefore that the next President of France is likely to be a weak figure whose tenure may change the relationship between Parliament and Presidency for the foreseeable future.

Shane Heneghan is a Brussels-based election and poll watcher. Follow Shane on Twitter: @shaneheneghan

Update: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen estimated to be through to second round (Guardian)