‘Liberty, cherished liberty’: Marine Le Pen launches anthem-quoting campaign poster for upcoming French presidential election

Marine Le Pen’s new campaign poster ahead of the 2022 general election pays homage to the French national anthem La Marseillaise. She is challenging incumbent President Macron on the protection of individual freedoms.

The new poster carries the words “Libertes, libertes cheries” (liberty, cherished liberty) printed in green – the color that Le Pen said was used by “glorious, powerful and sovereign France in the 19th century.” The leader of France’s right-wing National Rally party (RN) released the campaign poster on Thursday, anticipating that it would “surprise, provoke reactions and analysis.”

A statement that went with the poster on Le Pen’s Facebook campaign page criticized the French government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which included sweeping restrictions and the introduction of mandatory ‘health passes.’  The quote from the national anthem was “not a slogan” but a wish on behalf of all of France, coming from a song that calls for “emancipation in the hardest times” and unites the French people “against enmity.”

In an interview with Le Figaro published on Thursday, the RN leader said that her campaign championed ‘liberte’ because she is fighting for “all liberties” in France. “The first [freedoms] to defend are collective ones,” she told the newspaper.

The politician called the health pass measures a “backwards step” and an abuse of power. However, she has not taken a political stance against receiving the vaccine. French right-wing parties opposing the health pass, such as RN and the Republicans, have distanced themselves from anti-vaxxers.

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More than 140,000 French citizens took to the streets on Saturday in the eighth consecutive week of protests against President Macron’s public health policies. Right-wing parties and their followers have supported the protests since the beginning, when Macron introduced strict restrictions for unvaccinated citizens in July.

In the interview, Le Pen also said she was standing for the protection of national security and environment, which she believes requires restricting immigration and getting rid of the current naturalization mechanism. She also promised to give the French more freedom of choice, including in the form of referendums. Le Pen also advocated for dealing with the demographic crisis by supporting young French families, and spoke in favor of workers’ right to unionize.

Next year’s French presidential election is scheduled for April 10. Just like the previous one, the current president and the leader of RN are projected to compete in a second round two weeks later. A September poll by Politico saw Macron leading at 24%, followed by Le Pen at 23%.

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