Eighteen French soldiers, including four officers, will be punished for having suggested a military intervention to protect the country from the threat of “anti-racism”, “Islamism” and “the hordes of the peripheries”. They manifested it together with 20 retired generals and more than a thousand ex-military in an open letter published on April 21 in the ultraconservative weekly Valeurs Actuelles. The rostrum, addressed to President Emmanuel Macron and the entire political class, says that “France is in danger” and on the brink of “disintegration” and that “if nothing is done, laxity will continue to inexorably spread in society, ultimately causing an explosion and the intervention of our active companions. ”
A week after the publication of this letter, the Chief of the General Staff, General François Lecointre, has assured in an interview in Le Parisien that the active military who have signed the rostrum “will receive sanctions.” General Lecointre assures that he is “outraged” and details that the severity of the sanctions will be proportional to the rank of the military. “The greater the responsibilities, the stronger the obligation of neutrality and exemplarity,” explains Lecointre. In the interview, the Chief of the General Staff takes the opportunity to defend the neutrality of the Armed Forces, noting that the institution “is not politicized” and that, proof of this, is the fact that these 18 signatories represent a minimal number compared to the 210,000 troops that make up the army.RELATED
General François Lecointre’s announcement has been well received by the left, which days before had criticized the government for reacting late and with little force to the letter. “In France the army is republican and its boss proves it,” applauded on Twitter Jean Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left France Insoumise party.
For her part, the leader of the French extreme right, Marine Le Pen, was the first to react to the demands of this group of soldiers. Two days after the publication of the platform, Le Pen assured to share “the diagnosis” of these ex-combatants, inviting them to join his presidential candidacy. “I subscribe to your analysis and I share your affliction (…). It is the objective of my candidacy for the Presidency,” said the president of the National Regrouping in another letter published in the same weekly. “I invite you to join our action to take part in the ongoing battle, a certainly political and peaceful battle, but which is above all the battle of France.”
Marine Le Pen’s attempt to obtain political gain from this situation has been denounced by the French Government. Prime Minister Jean Castex considered it “unacceptable”, while Defense Minister Florence Parly recalled in a series of tweets
The circumstances, the language used in the letter and the reaction of the country’s main right-wing formation are similar to what happened in Spain last November, when more than 70 retired soldiers criticized the Government in a letter addressed to King Felipe VI. The demand of these former combatants had the support of Vox, who assured that they respond to “a demonstration in favor of the national unity of Spain” and that “they are our people.”
In France, this controversy occurs in a context of political and social tension, with the country hit again by terrorism after a radicalized young man murdered a police officer on the outskirts of Paris last Friday and with the French right accusing For months, the Macron government has been weak in the face of the terrorist threat.
One year after the French presidential elections, Marine Le Pen takes advantage of occasions such as the ex-military platform or the recent attack in Paris to attack the Government of Emmanuel Macron and win support among right-wing sectors unhappy with the Executive’s management on issues such as security, terrorism and the health crisis.
In recent years, Marine Le Pen has managed to consolidate herself at the forefront of the French extreme right. According a survey carried out by the Jean-Jaures Foundation, the presidential elections of 2022 could result in a duel between Macron and Le Pen, as happened in 2017. The poll indicates that the current president would win the far-right leader with 57% of the votes, compared to 43% who would add Le Pen. Still, it remains to be defined which candidates will lead the main French formations, such as the Socialist Party or the Republicans, and it is not clear whether Macron intends to run for re-election.
Taking advantage of the good figures in the polls, Le Pen made public his candidacy for the 2022 elections earlier this month. This weekend he officially kicks off his electoral campaign through an online rally in which he will detail his strategy for the coming months, with the departmental and regional elections scheduled for June 20 and 27 and his sights set on the race to occupy the Elysee.