Le Pen: 'The US model cannot be applied to France'
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With exactly seven months to go before the first round of France’s 2012 presidential election, Marine Le Pen, the candidate for the far-right National Front party, delves into issues beyond French borders.
Marine Le Pen's ratings have slipped since a shock opinion poll in March placed her ahead of mainstream candidates for the French presidency, but the leader of the anti-immigration National Front could still shake up the vote next April. With exactly seven months to go before the first round of the 2012 elections, only five percentage points separate Le Pen from the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy. FRANCE 24 asked her to weigh in on the issues at the heart of current French politics, but also the events making international headlines.
FRANCE 24: Reacting to a proposal by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party to have French teenagers and naturalised citizens swear to defend France [an oath resembling the US Pledge of Allegiance], you said yesterday you were “deeply annoyed” by the “Americanization” of French politics. What other ideas or trends are you referring to?
France's president is elected by direct voting for a five-year term.
Presidential elections have historically been organised into two rounds. If no candidate wins more than half of all ballots in the first round, voters must pick between the two top candidates in a run-off.
The first round of the next presidential elections in France will be held in April 22, 2012, with a run-off on May 6 if necessary.
Marine Le Pen: I was thinking about the introduction of the guilty plea in our justice system, about the idea circulated a few years ago [by President Sarkozy] to eliminate the role of the investigative judge, which in reality demonstrated the wish to progressively apply the American judicial system to French law. I was thinking about the importation of affirmative action. I think our president has a fascination for the United States and fails to understand that their culture is highly respectable but different from ours. The American model can't be applied to French culture.
F24: What is the best thing France can do to help debt-burdened Greece?
M.L.P.: To organise a prepared exit plan from the eurozone for Greece, and for a number of countries. It seems to me we are heading towards a financial cataclysm and the Greek people are going to be bled to death if we pursue the measures that have been in place for the past few months.
F24: Does France have a responsibility towards Greece?
M.L.P.: All of Europe does, and needs to look with interest at what is happening in Greece. Greece is the cradle of democracy and the cradle of liberties, and to hear today some speak about “putting them under guardianship”, in other words to take away their liberty and sovereignty, that shows that the economic system that has been created by our leaders is crazy. It was a huge error and now we need to close that parenthesis and move on to something else.
F24: What lessons should France draw from revolts in the Arab world?
M.L.P.: The lesson to learn is that there comes a time when a people no longer tolerate corruption, no longer tolerate when their leaders put their personal interests ahead of the collective interest, no longer tolerate the economic decisions that profit a few but hurt the rest. Maybe European leaders should be careful, because the revolutions that rocked the Arab countries could tomorrow reach Europe. I am opposed to armed intervention in a whole series of countries, which could unify several groups against Europe.