France: What are we voting for?

France goes into this Sunday’s elections with its international prestige under the microscope. Two weeks after an apathetic population allowed a Fascist to stand for the Presidency, the nation is united behind Jacques Chirac, an unlikely, but unique, national saviour.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, an ex-paratrooper whose violent past in French Indo-China and Algeria have been rumoured, but never proved, on numerous occasions, plays nationalism as his main trump card. Riding on a wave of indignation after a number of attacks on citizens by immigrants, mainly in the east and south of France, Le Pen favours an expulsion of illegal immigrants, restricting the right to asylum, re-establishing border control posts (the Schengen countries, of which France is a member, have no frontier controls) and establishing a policy of “national preference” in areas such as habitation, employment and social security.

On Europe, the candidates could not be more divided, Chirac favouring the continuation of France as a major player in the Union, while Le Pen intends to pull out of the Single Currency, restoring the Franc over the Euro, retiring from the European Union and establishing controls to protect French agriculture.

Both candidates pledge to reduce taxes, while on the issue of employment, Chirac promises to create 460,000 new jobs by a reduction of company tax and social security contributions, with Le Pen predictably giving the French priority in employment over foreigners.

Jacques Chirac aims to maintain the present system of social security, in which today’s workers pay today’s pensions, introducing new pensions funds and a new health investment plan. Le Pen wants to end all social security benefits for immigrants, aims to make abortion illegal and stimulate a rising birth-rate among French people (meaning white French people).

Le Pen, however ludicrous his proposals, has managed to present his agenda on a national and international stage. Part of this agenda will have to be addressed by the mainstream political parties, if the National Front is to disappear. This time, le Pen will be firmly put in his place by the French people, who should give Chirac some 80% of the vote.