French Presidential Elections Matter To Croatia

(LtoR) French presidential election candidates,
right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party Francois Fillon,
En Marche ! movement Emmanuel Macron,
far-left coalition La France insoumise Jean-Luc Melenchon,
far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen,
and left-wing French Socialist (PS) party Benoit Hamon,
Photo: PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)


The French nation has had a gutful of socialist rule and mindset. No doubt about that. The first round of Presidential elections held Sunday 23 April gives evidence to landslide rejection of the leftist, liberal strongholds of power. In a seismic shift of voter sentiment centrist Emmanuel Macron and right-front Marine Le Pen will fight for the French presidency in two weeks time after the country’s two main parties crashed out for the first time since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958. Regardless of the result of the upcoming face-off between Macron and Le Pen the defeat of socialist power will spill into Croatia, strengthening the case for decommunisation, lustration and return to original values of national freedom and democracy away from communist strongholds fought for during the 1990’s Homeland War. 2017 is the era of Donald Trump, Brexit and the rise of populism make the French Presidential election results a case that matters significantly to Croatia’s future political pull.

It was in the Front National heartlands of northern France that Marine Le Pen chose to celebrate the election victory that has brought her just one step away from becoming the country’s next president.

What is at stake here is the survival of France,” she told a vibrantly cheering crowd after the results were announced of round one of the most unpredictable and the most high-stakes election in decades. “I call on you to show unity, unity with our project to get France on its feet again,” she exclaimed.


She was speaking in a sports hall on the edge of the town of Henin-Beaumont, a couple of hours drive north of Paris in the French “rustbelt”, where the coal mines closed long ago and the factories have moved to Eastern Europe or Asia. Behind the hall, ironically named the “François Mitterrand Centre” after the late Socialist president, lies a giant slag heap, a reminder of the now disappeared mines whose traditionally left-wing workers were won over by Le Pen’s anti-globalisation crusade.

She added: “In 1943 in Casablanca Charles De Gaulle said the grandeur of the people only comes from the people itself. And that is the principle, which for 1500 years of its history is the one that has forged the history of France. The principle I will implement, uniting the French people can only be done on the basis of the love of France.”

Le Pen’s FN party is committed to taking France out of the euro and holding a referendum on EU membership if Brussels does not comply with her demands to disband the single currency and end the border-free Schengen travel zone.

Emmanuel Macron (L)
Marine Le Pen (R)

Macron has promised to lead a “rebirth” of the EU if he wins, a fact that makes him the clear favourite in Brussels where die-hard federalists still dream that Macron – allied perhaps with a possibly new pro-EU German chancellor (at 2017 September elections in Germany) in Martin Schulz – could bring the bloc out of the doldrums. However, Macron’s ability to deliver the kind of economic reforms that might convince Germany to take a more expansive approach to deepening Europe’s fiscal union is open to question, as is much of his policy platform.

The main issue arising from the French Presidential election is the survival of National Sovereignty. Today, worldwide, and so too in Croatia where liberal strongholds that are defined by and arose from communist/socialist echelons, “Sovereignty” has become a bad word in the mainstream left and this had somewhat shaken the resolve of the right. The fact of the matter is that sovereignty is the opposite of the aggressive nationalism inspired by WWII fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to conquer other countries, depriving them of their national sovereignty. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back. That is why the British voted to leave the European Union – primarily because they cherish their historic tradition of self-rule.

For a long time, the French left has complained about job loss, declining living standards, delocalisation or closure of profitable industries, without recognising that these unpopular results are caused by EU requirements. EU directives and regulations increasingly undermine the French model of redistribution through public services, and are now threatening to wipe them out altogether – either because “the government is bankrupt” or because of EU competition rules prohibit countries from taking measures to preserve their key industries or their agriculture.

The scenario is replicated in Croatia (and other EU countries) and with a string of past and current governments in Croatia the push away from everything “Croatian” as well as from Croatian national pride together with the values contained in the Homeland War victory has reached a boiling point; a point that cannot nor should be tolerated.


Today, Croatia stands divided into those who have embraced Croatian independence and thirst for democracy and those who have not – who hang onto the communist Yugoslavia past and keep drumming into the public the blatant and politically sculptured lie that Croatian national pride is equal to fascism. It stands to conclusion that without a prudent, determined and respectful conservative or right-wing political force in Croatia the chance of achieving Le Pen’s results – winning over chunks from the left and the fence-dwellers – is slim and, hence, Croatia would be doomed to a continuance of vicious and recriminatory divisions. It is imperative for Croatia to use facts of communist crimes in the path for the return of national pride and firm sovereignty. Ina Vukic

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