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Who is Marine Le Pen and her views on Ukraine

Who is Marine Le Pen and her views on Ukraine Photo: France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen (Getty Images)

The parliamentary elections in France today, July 7, may bring victory to the National Rally party. The formal leader of the party is Marine Le Pen, who is known for her scandalous statements about Ukraine and favorable sentiments toward the policies of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

RBC-Ukraine has collected everything known about Marine Le Pen and her attitude to the war in Ukraine.


Daughter of a far-right politician. What is known about Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen is 55 years old, born in the French town of Neuilly-sur-Seine. She is the third child in the family of a model and a politician.x

Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, is a well-known far-right politician who fought against the independence of the then-French colonies of Algeria and Vietnam in the ranks of the Foreign Legion. After the Second World War, he spoke ambiguously about the policies of Nazi Germany, for which he was accused of anti-Semitism and spreading neo-Nazi views.

Marine Le Pen was the youngest daughter in the family. Like her father, she received a law degree. In 1990, she graduated from the Paris-Panthéon-Assas University with a master's degree in law, and the following year she received a master's degree in criminal law.

In 1992, she obtained her lawyer's certificate and worked as a lawyer in Paris until 1998. She was subsequently elected to municipal and regional councils and was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2017.

National Front as an inheritance. Marine Le Pen's political career

Jean-Marie Le Pen founded the far-right political party National Front in 1972 and led it for several decades. At the age of 18, his daughter Marine joined the party and has served as vice president since 2003.

The National Front's program focused on restricting immigration, reinstating the death penalty, and conscription. Jean-Marie Le Pen was a Eurosceptic and advocated for limiting France's participation in the European Union.

Who is Marine Le Pen and her views on Ukraine

Photo: Le Pen took over the National Front after her father's resignation (Getty Images)

In 2011, the founder of the National Front resigned, after which his daughter was elected chairman of the political party.

Marine Le Pen rebranded the party, making it more moderate and gaining new supporters.

Her new "anti-devilization" policy rejected racist and anti-Semitic views, but the party remained far-right.

Marine Le Pen continued to advocate for harsh restrictions on immigrants. She proposed to cut social benefits for foreigners and demanded the immediate expulsion of those who had committed crimes. The party's program emphasized "national priority" - everyone with French citizenship should have priority over foreigners for housing, social benefits, and jobs.

Since 2018, the political party has been renamed the National Rally (Rassemblement National, abbreviated as RN). Marine Le Pen remained its president until September 2021. Then she decided to focus on her presidential campaign and handed over her responsibilities to Jordan Bardella, who remains the leader of the political party.

Marine Le Pen has run for president three times in her political career.

  • In 2012, she came in third with 18% of the vote, behind François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • In 2017, she lost to Emmanuel Macron in the second round (33.9% vs. 66.1%);
  • 2022 - again lost to Macron in the second round of voting (41.46% vs. 58.54%).

In 2022, after the parliamentary elections in France, Le Pen headed the National Rally faction in the National Assembly. At the same time, she remains the de facto leader of the political party.

Le Pen's attitude to the war in Ukraine

As the head of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen has repeatedly expressed her support for the Kremlin's policies. She called Russian President Vladimir Putin "the defender of the heritage of European civilization."

During Russia's annexation of Crimea, representatives of Le Pen's political party acted as observers for the so-called referendum.

"In my opinion, the results of the referendum are not in dispute. It was expected. And the people of Crimea, who lived in fear, rushed into the arms of the country they came from because you know that Crimea has been part of Ukraine for only 60 years," Le Pen said.

In the spring of 2014, Marine Le Pen declared her support for the Luhansk People's Republic terrorists and said that she shared the same values with Putin and wanted Ukraine to be federalized.

She called on Europe not to impose sanctions against Russia and to stop seeing Russia as an enemy, as it was allegedly Europe that was contributing to the escalation of tensions in Ukraine.

However, Le Pen condemned Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022.

"By invading Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russia provoked a war on the doorstep of the EU and a geopolitical crisis that is undoubtedly the most dramatic in the last twenty years. We are obliged to express our respect and support to the Ukrainian people under attack," the politician said.

At the beginning of the large-scale war, she supported Ukraine's accession to NATO. "I believe in the sovereignty of nations: if Ukraine wants to join NATO, if that is their will, I don't see who can oppose it."

In April 2023, Le Pen said that Russia's victory in the war would be a disaster, but if Ukraine won, "World War III would begin." According to her, if Western countries continue to slowly supply weapons to Ukraine, they will face a "new Hundred Years' War."

Who is Marine Le Pen and her views on UkrainePhoto: Le Pen supported Russia's annexation of Crimea (Getty Images)

During the preparations for the signing of the bilateral agreement on security commitments between Ukraine and France, Marine Le Pen opposed it and criticized Ukraine's path to NATO and the EU this time.

In her opinion, the security agreement includes provisions that are "red lines for the National Rally and millions of French people and that threaten to escalate the conflict: Ukraine's accession to the EU and NATO and the principle of "active deterrence."

Le Pen added that Russia's war against Ukraine "will inevitably end in negotiations," and the goal of the allies should be to ensure that "when the time comes, Ukraine is in the most favorable situation to restore its territorial integrity."

Elections in France. What Le Pen will do if she wins

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the dissolution of the parliament and early elections after the defeat of his party, the Renaissance, in the European Parliament elections.

Read more about the parliamentary elections in France and what Ukraine can expect in a separate RBC-Ukraine article.

According to the results of the first round of voting on June 30, the opposition National Rally received the majority of votes with 33.14% of support. It was followed by the New Popular Front with 29.1% of the vote, while the presidential party was in third place with 20.04%.

The second round of elections on July 7 will be decisive in the parliamentary race. If the RN wins, there will be important changes in French politics.

Marine Le Pen has already hinted that since the National Rally government will control the treasury, there will be no money for some of President Macron's foreign policy initiatives, but rather "red lines."

"Regarding Ukraine, the president will not be able to send troops," she expressed her position on Macron's recent statement about the possibility of sending military to Ukraine.

The official leader of the RN party, Jordan Bardella, promised that the National Rally would not allow "Russian imperialism to swallow up a union state like Ukraine." He said during the debate that he wanted to both support Ukraine and avoid escalation with Russia.

On her plans in case the RN wins the election, Marine Le Pen said that she was not going to lead the government. According to her, the National Rally will nominate the current party leader, Jordan Bardella, as a candidate for prime minister.

Instead, Le Pen intends to lead a group of MPs from the political party and declare her presidential ambitions.

"If he (Macron - ed.) decides to resign, we will enter this presidential battle with great enthusiasm," she said.

Sources: El Pais, Der Spiegel, Le Télégramme, statements of Marine Le Pen to France Inter, Wikipedia.

Last September, French law enforcement officials announced their intention to bring Le Pen to court in a case of misuse of EU funds. The trial is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2024.

Marine Le Pen is also suspected of having ties to Russia. Several politicians have asked the Paris prosecutor's office to open new criminal cases against her.