Frontrunner to lead conservatives in France, Laurent Wauquiez — who called U.S. President Donald Trump an “inspiration” — has said he is ready to take on globalist president Emmanuel Macron and speak for the “silent majority”.
The 42-year-old, who opinion polls mark as the clear favourite to become the leader of Les Républicains (LR) in France next month, is characterised by the media as “hard right” due to his conservative views on immigration and radical Islam.
Speaking after a party rally, Wauquiez said conservative parties have moved too far to the centre in recent years. “We won’t bring people together by being tepid,” he told Reuters on Wednesday.
At the rally in Provins, the French politician had called for an end to giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants, and blasted politicians’ “naivety” over Islam, which prompted the international news agency to accuse him of parroting “[Front National Leader Marine] Le Pen’s favourite themes”.
“So if Marine Le Pen says it’s night-time I should say it’s day-time? Because the National Front (FN) talks about immigration I shouldn‘t?
“After the wave of attacks that have traumatized our country, the right shouldn’t talk about Islamic fundamentalism?”, he asked the interviewer before slamming German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her failure to address Islamism, calling it Merkel’s “big mistake”.
Wauquiez, who once refused to officiate a gay marriage while mayor, said conservatives were “knocked down” at the country’s presidential elections earlier this year, and acknowledged “tensions [within LR] as we are rebuilding ourselves, and that’s normal after such a stinging defeat”.
But there is “another path” to victory for conservatives than that of the new president, the former investment banker Macron, he said — “That of a determined and unfazed right,” he told Reuters.
The populist right is surging across Europe —
but is enjoying particular support in central Europe https://t.co/vjAQvScwHT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 2, 2017
Wauquiez drew condemnation when he praised Trump’s ability to inspire during the U.S. Republican primaries in Spring 2016, with the media blasting the French politician for “defending” a candidate who is “pro-gun, anti-immigration and [supports] war against the media”.
After Trump won the presidential race in November 2016, Wauquiez — as LR chairman — posted a statement on the party’s website in November calling on France to “respect the choice of the American people”.
Pointing to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) some months before the U.S. presidential election, the former minister explained the shock electoral victories against the establishment came about because “the people will find a way to be heard, when they feel ignored and despised”.
“This vote is the consequence of a revolt of the middle classes against a ruling elite who wants to dictate how they should think,” he wrote.
“In our country too, a growing silent majority is feeling ever more alienated with regards to the direction in which France is being steered. We must change course.”
While Angela Merkel’s centre-right party in Germany suffered enormous losses at the country’s federal elections after the Chancellor opened Europe up to an unprecedented wave of mass migration from the third world, support has flourished elsewhere in the EU for conservative parties which secure their borders including the Czech Republic and Austria.