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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 5th May 2017 > THE (FAR) RIGHT STUFF


Can a sputtering economy and fears of ISIS lift France’s Marine Le Pen into the Élysée Palace?

THE TOWN of Caumont-Sur-Durance in southern France was quiet on a recent Saturday night. Shops were closed, the streets were empty, and a few elderly men sat sipping beers at the local bar, scratching at lottery cards or placing bets on the horse race on television. But inside the town hall, where a meeting for the far-right National Front party had just finished, the atmosphere was euphoric. “Marine gets me shaking,” said Monique Zaouchkevitch of the party’s charismatic leader, Marine Le Pen. A former president of the Red Cross in the nearby town of Cavaillon, Zaouchkevitch had never followed politics until she heard Le Pen speak. “The people of France have been forgotten,” she said. “But Marine, she’s close to the people.”

Nearby, Jean Trufen, an 80-year-old army veteran, was proudly showing of his collection of National Front membership cards, all featuring Le Pen’s smiling face. “I’m not ashamed. I voted for Jean-Marie. Now, I’m voting for Marine,” he said, referring to Le Pen’s father, who ran the party until 2011. “My future is behind me, but I’m voting for the future of France.”

The energy around Le Pen is palpable, particularly in France’s southeast. Some supporters are hesitant, at first, to admit they are voting for a party with a reputation for xenophobia. Anita, who was packing up her store at a Sunday market in the town of Sorgues, wouldn’t give her last name, afraid that if people knew which candidate she’d chosen, it could hurt her business. “I’m voting for Marine,” she said.

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ONE MILLION DEAD: WHAT WAR WITH NORTH KOREA WOULD LOOK LIKE What would another armed conflict on the peninsula look like? During the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, some 2.7 million Koreans died, along with 33,000 Americans and 800,000 Chinese. In any pre-emption scenario now, the U.S. would try to keep the strike limited to the task at hand; at the same time, Washington would signal in any way it could, probably via the North’s ally in Beijing, that it did not seek a wider war.