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Did France have a secret crisis plan in case Le Pen won the election?

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Did France have a secret crisis plan in case Le Pen won the election?
Photo: AFP
16:27 CEST+02:00
According to a report in France the government had an emergency plan named "Protect the Republic" that it was ready to put into place if the far right's Marine Le Pen had won the presidential election.

Flood the streets with police to quell the violence, bring back parliament, and force the Prime Minister and government to remain in place until the parliamentary elections in June.

These are essentially the measures that formed the basis of an emergency plan that the French government would put in place in the case that Marine Le Pen won the second round of the election against Emmanuel Macron on May 7th.

At least that’s according to France’s L’Obs magazine who have cited senior sources close to the government and state organisations.

The plan does not seem too outlandish given the fact that French intelligence services had already warned authorities of the likelihood of widespread rioting if Marine Le Pen won the election.

Her qualification for the second round along with that of Macron’s had already prompted violent scenes in some French cities, notably on May Day when petrol bombs were thrown at police (see photo above).

But L’Obs claims the government had a three step plan to ensure the country did not lurch into a nationwide crisis if the far right leader had won. Although it appears it was more an informal plan discussed at high level rather than something written down and set in stone.

"It was an action plan with several layers. The philosophy, and the imperative priority, was to maintain civil peace while fully respecting our constitutional rules,” one government source told L’Obs.

The first priority was to preserve peace on the streets with senior authorities expecting protests and violence lead by extremist groups to occur almost immediately after her win.

The sitting Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve who has just been replaced by Edouard Philippe, would have been required to stay on until the legislative elections if Le Pen had won to ensure some kind of stability.

His government would have also been asked to stay on forcing Le Pen to accept “cohabitation”  the system whereby a French president has to accept a government and prime minister from a different party.

Parliament would have been recalled for the Wednesday after the second round on Sunday May 7th to discuss the “national crisis and outbreaks of violence” provoked by Le Pen’s win, the report claims.

“The country would have come to a halt and the government would have just one priority, assuring the security of the state,” a source told L’Obs.

In the end Emmanuel Macron won the second round easily although there was some outbreaks of violence involving anti-capitalist and anarchist groups in certain cities around France including Paris.

A protest was also organised by leftist trade unions the day after Macron’s win and more are likely as if he follows through on promises to reform the labour market.

IN PICS: Just one day after Emmanuel Macron's election and Paris holds its first protest

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