In a blog post for Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, lead-authors of the FES Democracy report Understanding Right-Wing Populism & What To Do About It Daphne Halikiopoulou and Tim Vlandas as well as FES Democracy researcher Michael Jennewein lay out the main findings of their report and apply them to the 2022 French Presidential Election.
The blog shows how economic issues are much more relevant for understanding Le Pens success as opposed to cultural issues as is often stipulated in the disussion of right-wing populist parties. It was precisely her focus on economic concerns that allowed her to appeal beyond her core voter base. The inflation crisis which followed several decades of low inflation, and the pandemic aftermath put pressure on an increasing number of vulnerable social groups, allowing Le Pen to appeal to a much larger electoral group facing those concerns. These growing economic problems occurred against the backdrop of longstanding issues facing the French labour market since the economic crisis, liberalisingreforms and activation.