Gilles Ivaldi, CNRS researcher, compared the presidential programs of the radical right’s two top candidates for president, Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour.
First of all, Everyone gives an important place to the economy and the social. This expenditure accounts for almost two thirds (65%) of Éric Zemmour’s 385 proposals, compared to 74% of Marine Le Pen’s programme.
Gilles Ivaldi first notes that the match is played between the two on the basis of “credibility”. Marine Le Pen has also recently made fun of his competitor’s “caricatural proposals”. As for the candidate for the National Rally, “the importance attached to economic and social issues is part of a long-standing strategy that started with her arrival at the head of the National Front in 2011”, recalls the political scientist herself.
This consideration is more recent for the Reconquest candidate, “driven by” the need to also free himself from his status as a “niche” candidate around cultural themes”.
“Crisis Social Populism” by Marine Le Pen
Where the two candidates pull away is the social issue. “In 2022, in fact, the social issue is at the center of the RN . candidate’s presidential program […] Ten years ago, 59% of the FN’s economic proposals already moved towards the economic left “The redistribution and social protection measures this year represent two-thirds (66%) of the RN candidate’s economic and social proposals, the highest proportion since the FN appeared on the French political scene,” analyzes Gilles Ivaldi, noting that Marine Le Pen “bet very early on a social populism in a crisis with a strong social tone”
Measures include a reduction in VAT, an increase in wages, tax exemptions or free transport for young workers, the abolition of the TICPE increases between 2015 and 2018, an exceptional tax on oil groups, an increase in pensions and the minimum age.
The RN candidate does not forget the “economically entrenched circles on the right” with “the disappearance of several emblematic measures”, such as her withdrawal from her retirement at age 60 or the repeal of the labor law that appeared in her 2017 program.
Éric Zemmour’s “Popular Capitalism”
On the other hand, Éric Zemmour has bet on what Gilles Ivaldi calls ‘popular capitalism’. “A total of 43% of the Reconquest candidate’s measures! are oriented to the right, more than double that of Marine Le Pen”, he has compatibility stating the exemption from the IFI and inheritance tax, retirement at 64, tax exemption for overtime.
Several right-wing markers stand out from his program, such as cutting government spending by $15 billion or promising to end prosperity. The study notes that the candidate “is taking on board fiscal Poujadism, which has long been a strong element of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s economic program”. taxpayers, preys on those who work, those who pay for others, without saying a word, without flinching, it is no longer a tax office, it is a Soviet bureaucracy. We demand an end to Bercy’s tyranny! †
However, Gilles Ivaldi notes that in addition to “the strong aspects of campaign rhetoric”, Éric Zemmour is far from the liberal positioning of Jean-Marie Le Pen, presidential candidate. In 1986 liberal measures represented 79% of the FN program and 61% in 2002.
Éric Zemmour must also appeal to the most modest of categories by promising a salary increase, the reimbursement of fuel costs or a birth allowance of €10,000.
Protectionism in line with the expectations of their supporters
Finally, the study underlines that Éric Zemmour and Marine Le Pen agree on economic nationalism. Protectionist measures represent a quarter (25%) of Éric Zemmour’s economic project and 14% of Marine Le Pen’s.
The candidate, who has abandoned the idea of leaving the euro, prefers in 2022 “a Polish model aimed at confirming the primacy of national law over European law”. A guideline that we also find in Éric Zemmour. The study recalls “the suitability of the protectionist offer of the candidates with the expectations of their supporters: no less than 42% of Éric Zemmour’s potential voters therefore believe that “France should close more economically”. of the lepenist voters, against 30% of the electorate of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and only 18% of the supporters of Emmanuel Macron. »
Finally, the political scientist notes that the impact of the war on the purchasing power of the French benefits Marine Le Pen. “By betting on a social-populist program of ‘crisis’ with a strong social tone, even before the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the National Rally candidate made the bet to tackle a France that is weakening was affected by the pandemic and on this occasion may have laid the groundwork for his second round qualification against Emmanuel Macron.”