No, The French Election Wasn’t Rigged, And No, It Doesn’t Tell Us Anything About Canada

Beware of forgetting that each country has a very unique political history.

In the social media era, everyone – at least in the free world – can access information about the latest political events across the world in real time.

While more access to information is good overall, this also causes many people to see every election through the same lens.

For example, Canada has a centre-right party leading in the polls, an unpopular Prime Minister leading an ostensibly ‘centrist’ party, and a left-wing movement led by a party – the NDP – that has chosen to pander to anti-Semites for votes amid a surge in anti-Semitism.

France has a party on the ‘right’ that led in the first round of voting, an unpopular President leading a centrist political grouping, and a left-wing movement that has pandered to anti-Semitism.

On the surface, this makes it appear that Canada and France have a very similar political situation. Misinterpretations regarding France’s two-round voting system have also brought some US political rhetoric into play online, with people falsely claiming the election was rigged.

Here are the facts:

First, the National Rally is nothing like the Canadian Conservative Party. While the term ‘far-right’ is often misapplied, it does indeed apply to the National Rally. While National Rally leader Marine Le Pen has sought to improve and soften the party’s image, it has a terrible past, and ongoing connections to authoritarian states:

“The National Front was founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen and by former Waffen-SS members Pierre Bousquet and Léon Gaultier, by Holocaust denier François Duprat, and by Roger Holeindre – a member of the terrorist OAS organization, which tried to assassinate Charles de Gaulle for his decision to pull out from Algeria.

Despite some cleaning-up and toned-down rhetoric, however, RN is steadfast in its pro-Russian foreign policy. Le Pen admittedly trashed campaign flyers ahead of the 2022 presidential election because they included a picture of her with Putin (Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022), but RN’s ties with Russia are intact. Many RN candidates are openly supportive of Putin.”

So, while Canadians of all political stripes – including those in Canada’s traditional Conservative movement – were fighting the fascists in the 1940s, the National Rally’s founders-to-be were fascists.

Further, the Conservative Party has been staunchly pro-Ukraine under Pierre Poilievre, calling for Canada to do more to help Ukraine and do more to crack down on Russia. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was also extremely pro-Ukraine and anti-Putin.

And of course, the Conservative Party is a pro-immigration party, while also now advocating for a return to the manageable and stable immigration levels of the pre-Trudeau era. Canada – despite our growing issues with radical Islamism and anti-Western extremists, remains far better at integrating newcomers than France.

Also, both the National Rally and the far-left coalition in France are pushing for the rollback of centrist President Emmanuel Macron’s increase in the retirement age. They are also pushing for higher taxes on the ‘wealthy,’ and would increase the debt by billions of dollars in a country that is already drowning in red ink. The National Rally’s economic program is thus much more similar to the economic policies of Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh.

So as you can see, attempting to fit the French National Rally into the Canadian political context simply doesn’t work. Just because a party is seen as on the ‘right’ in one country doesn’t mean it is similar to a Canadian party on the ‘right.’ In many ways, the economic policies and overall outlook of the Conservative Party have more in common with Macron’s centrist movement than it does with the National Rally.

The election was legitimate

In the first round of the French election, the Nationally Rally did quite well. In the second round, they finished in third place, falling behind even Macron’s coalition. This led some people – who clearly don’t understand the French system and didn’t bother to look into it – to claim it was ‘rigged.’

As well-explained by Wyatt Claypool, that is simply untrue:

“Are you daft?

It is a 2 round voting system. RN had around 32% of the vote in the first round and then unless they had more than 50% in a constituency there was a runoff between all parties that had the equivalent of at least 12.5% of registered voters vote for them.

Some parties on the Left in the 3 or 4-way run-offs decided to drop out or tell their supporters to vote for another candidate because they did not suspect they could win.

I don’t understand your complaint here.

Apparently “It’s only democracy when we win” which is something I usually associate more with whiny progressives.”

The French election was legitimate. The National Rally connected with the concerns of some voters on the issue of immigration and crime, but failed to persuade a critical mass of voters that they could be trusted with power. So, they finished third.

That’s the legitimate result of the election.

So, while we look at elections in other nations, it’s important to remember that each country has its own context, and we cannot simply map one political culture onto another.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube

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