In four days, the second round of the French presidential election will take place. What are the African programs of the two candidates, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron?
Next Sunday, April 24, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron compete to try to win the chair of President of the French Republic. The far-right candidate invited herself, for the second time in a row,Tunisia online sales site in the second round of the ballot, totaling 23,1% of the votes, against 27,8% for the outgoing president. And with a higher popularity rating than in 2017, which owes a lot to the lack of love of part of the French towards Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen begins to dream of reaching the Elysée.
While waiting for the second round, the candidates refine their programs and debate, often through the media. On April 13, Marine Le Pen wanted to talk about international politics. The candidate of the National Rally – ex-National Front – wishes the “restoration of the influence of French diplomacy”. But during his press conference, Emmanuel Macron's opponent barely outlined his future African policy.
Two rooms, two atmospheres
However, the far-right candidate is betting more than anything on the African continent which, according to members of her party, is Marine Le Pen's "first international priority". For several years now, the RN, and before it the FN, has been deploying its African networks. In 2017, Marine Le Pen went to Africa, during a mini-tour which ended in Chad. The contender for the Elysée relies in particular on the deputy Sébastien Chenu, who has a large network.
On the side of Marine Le Pen, therefore, we are working to forge links on the African continent. Admittedly, the RN candidate is announced as the loser in the polls. But in case of surprise, Marine Le Pen wants to be ready. So much so that, according to Africa Intelligence, "several missi dominici from the campaign team of the National Rally (RN) candidate for the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen, have tried in recent weeks to approach a handful of diplomats" in Africa. Objective, in particular: to continue to have good relations with Chad and to prepare, in the event of an election, the departure of French troops from the central Sahel.
And if Marine Le Pen remains relatively discreet on the question, it is because, publicly, she addresses the African question under the prisms of migration and memory. The boss of the RN also multiplies, in her program, the shock proposals: end of the right of the soil, abolition of family reunification or even limitation of the right of asylum. She also wants to harden access to French nationality. And Le Pen wants, as Eric Zemmour, reserve a special fate for the Algerians. It wishes indeed "to condition any new granting of visa for the benefit of Algerian nationals, any authorization of transfer of funds, any acquisition of property in France by an Algerian dignitary, by the readmission by the Algerian consular authorities in France".
Emmanuel Macron and his meager record
And if Marine Le Pen wants to reduce the amount of aid and visas for foreigners, Emmanuel Macron, for his part, is not very popular with the African diasporas either. Especially since he decided to reduce the number of visas granted to North African countries. Behind the scenes, Macron's Africa cell, led by Franck Paris, continues its work while waiting for the second round. But she knows she is in the hot seat: in the event of victory, Emmanuel Macron could reorganize his African service.
Because the African balance sheet of Emmanuel Macron is not brilliant. Despite a few fine speeches and a promise to "change France's relationship with the African continent", the Elysée is moving forward at a brisk pace. Admittedly, the Macron administration has launched memorial work with Algeria, but relations have been strained with Algiers in recent years. Just like with Mali, where Paris experienced a major failure. France also participated in ending the CFA franc. But the reform of the currency has fallen far behind. However, we promise from the side of the team of La République en Marche (LREM), "Africa will continue to be a completely strategic and priority axis of France's foreign policy".
In the event of victory for Marine Le Pen, the cards would in any case be reshuffled. The presidents of Mali, Assimi Goïta, and of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, could thus take a step in the direction of Paris. Just like the head of state of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, at odds with the Elysée. If Emmanuel Macron confirms his lead, it will however be the status quo. The Elysée can count on "Françafrique presidents", such as Alassane Ouattara or Mohamed Bazoum, to pursue an African policy which has lost its luster since 2017.