France had its last national election in 2017, which ended Françoise Hollande’s tenure as the country’s President. However, the election was not smooth sailing.
The populist attitudes that enabled Trump to hold what some people consider to be “the most powerful position in the world” also boosted France’s far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. No candidate won the majority of votes in the first round and a second round of election was held to help France choose between Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! and Marine Le Pen of the National Front.
While it is important to acknowledge that populism did not ultimately succeeded in France, it is difficult to ignore that Marine Le Pen did in fact make it to the second round of the elections and secured 33.9% of the votes.
Why was Marine Le Pen’s growing popularity a cause for concern?
Her policies are first and foremost extremely anti-immigrant. Her exact words were, “We are not going to welcome any more people, stop, we are full up!”. She insists on the regulation of globalization and is extremely weary of Muslims and people of color.
As France celebrates the second star that was added to their kit last night, it is important for the world in general and France in particular to look at these statistics:
Approximately 80% of France’s 2018 World Cup team are either migrants or decedents of migrants and approximately 50% of its team are Muslims.
French citizens who back Le Pen’s vicious and hateful policies and then simultaneously choose to celebrate France’s, need to take a step back and think about the contribution both immigrants and Muslims make to their country. Yes, Marie Antoinette allegedly asked the French to eat cake but it is time for them to realize that they cannot have their cake and eat it too.