How the French president unexpectedly offered the far right an opportunity to govern for the first time since the Vichy regime

In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, argues that "there is indeed a real risk that, for the first time since 1945, France will be governed by a far-right party."

Fassin contends that President Emmanuel Macron's "hazardous strategy" of occupying "the right of French politics," through which he intended to wipe out "the threat from Le Pen’s party and the Republicans," has facilitated this evolution of the whole political spectrum to the right. He writes: "There were three components to this strategy. First, his harsh stance on law and order. Second, his renewed focus on Muslims, and his fight against what he termed 'Islamist separatism.' And third, and above all, his disproportionate focus on immigration, culminating in a heated, year-long debate about a controversial new bill that restricted migrants’ rights and benefits. When this law, called 'shameful' by the Human Rights League, was voted in on December 2023, Le Pen described it as an 'ideological victory.'"

But Fassin does not find Macron solely responsible: "It is part of a wider shift in Europe, where support for far-right parties is surging."

Read the full article, published under the title "Macron thought he could defeat Le Pen by shifting right. Instead, he has emboldened her," at The Guardian