Le Pen Vows to Crack Down on ‘Talibanised Zones’ in France, as She Launches Presidential Bid

French politician Rassemblement National (RN) leader Marine Le Pen gestures as she addresses a 'Universite d'été ' Rassemblement National (RN) meeting in Frejus, southern France on September 12, 2021. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Launching her bid for the 2022 presidential election in France, right-wing populist candidate Marine Le Pen promised to return liberty to France from President Emmanuel Macron’s draconian coronavirus measures and to crack down on the “Talibanised” areas of France.

Marine Le Pen, who stepped aside as the leader of the National Rally party on Sunday in favour of her 26-year-old deputy Jordan Bardella in order to focus fully on her presidential campaign, cast the upcoming election as a civilisational choice for France.

“There will only be two alternatives: either the dilution of France or the salutary leap that will bring France into the third millennium around the idea of ​​the nation,” Le Pen said in a speech in the southern city of Frejus.

Picking up on the central theme of her political career, Le Pen vowed to crack down the ills of mass migration, which she said has created narco cities and “Talibanised zones” in parts of the country.

“No one will be able to prohibit the French republic from the reconquest of neighbourhoods that our opponents have resigned themselves to consider lost,” she said.

Le Pen said that she will “eradicate” Islamists and “mafias” from French neighbourhoods, saying: “In France, the French have the right to live like french people,” promising to put “delinquents in prison and foreigners on the plane.”

The populist candidate also took aim at President Emmanuel Macron’s imposition of a vaccine passport in France, highlighting the nine straight weeks of protests throughout the country against the measure.

She said that the pass sanitaire is an “attack” on freedom and an “infringement of the equality of French when some undergo a truely unjustified social ban.”

“We are not against vaccination but for vaccine freedom, everyone should have the freedom to choose in conscience and responsibility to vaccinate or not,” Le Pen said.

Amid growing concern over the effects of mass migration in the wake of several high-profile Islamist terror attacks last year in France, Ms Le Pen has been gaining ground in the polls against the centre-left Macron, who has yet to announce his re-election campaign.

Despite his previously open borders positions, former Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has also picked up on the issue of migration in his bid for the French presidency, calling for a three to five-year moratorium on migration from outside the European Union.

Sunday also saw the socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo throw her hat into the ring for the 2022 election. The Spanish-born socialist made the issues of climate change and wages the central issues of her campaign, promising to enact a suitably communist “five-year plan” to decarbonise the French economy.

“Yes, I want the students to eat their fill and healthy food. Yes, I want the children to breathe clean air. I will carry a 5-year plan to massively decarbonize our economy,” she said.

Hidalgo has been a polarising figure in Paris, drawing criticism over her plans to ban most cars from the city centre in order to make the city more green, while at the same time failing to keep the streets of the French capital clean, with many residents complaining about the amount of trash and dirt littering the streets of Paris.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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