This is important both from political and economic viewpoints. Over the last few days, there have been two press articles that went largely unnoticed in France but may get real significance by 2017 when France will vote in the presidential elections. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the rightist party Front National, gave an interview and wrote an editorial respectively in two of the most-read and most-respected newspapers in the world: The New York Times (NYT) and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Not only it is pretty rare to read the opinions of a French elected official, but it is even more unusual to read, in a major US publication twice in a same week, those of someone who doesn’t fit with the ideas of such “mainstream” media. Beyond Le Pen’s ideas which are widely known – end of mass immigration and Schengen area, all-out combat against “Islamic terrorism”, exit from the euro area, building of a multi-polar world with France as a non-NATO independent and sovereign nation – this is the tone of the two articles – and their readers’ comments – that much contrasted with the usually more critical one can read in the French media, as if Marine – this is how her fellow partisans name her – had already achieved a certain status of political respectability and importance which makes her someone you don’t treat anyhow, meaning: Marine could become the French President someday, if not the very next.
While the socialist government of President François Hollande is trying to capitalize on the political popularity gained from its crisis management of the recent terrorist attacks in and around Paris, the US media gave Marine Le Pen an exceptional opportunity to make herself heard and elevate herself as one, if not the only strong challenger for the next presidential elections in 2017. And such an assumption does have huge economic relevance as Greece is likely to elect euro-questioning leftist Alexis Tsipras as Prime Minister in the next few days. The signal from US media seems clear: one will have to reckon with Marine Le Pen when it comes to France’s future.