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2022 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

‘I will put France in order’ Le Pen urges anti-Macron voters to back her

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen promised Sunday to put France in order if elected president, after election projections showed she had qualified for a run-off vote against President Emmanuel Macron on April 24.

'I will put France in order' Le Pen urges anti-Macron voters to back her
French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) presidential candidate Marine Le Pen addresses party supporters after the first results of the first round of the Presidential election in Paris, on April 10, 2022. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

“I will put France in order within five years,” she told supporters, urging “all those who did not vote for Emmanuel Macron” in the first round to back her in the second.

Le Pen was set to score over 24 percent of the first round vote, according to projections, an improvement on the 21.3 percent she achieved in the first round of the 2017 presidential election.

However with a projected 28 percent of the vote Emmanuel Macron also improved on his 2017 first round score of 24 percent.

But whilst Le Pen was up against it in 2017, the far right candidate is clearly more confident this time around, believing she can unite voters who don’t want to see another five years of Macron.

In a speech to supporters, she said that the country faced a choice: “Either division, injustice and disorder, or rallying around social justice”.

Le Pen touched on key themes she has addressed throughout the campaign: immigration, security and purchasing power.

“The French people have given me the honour of qualifying me for the second round. The French people obviously want to now decide between two opposing visions of the future”,  said the National Rally candidate.

Her cheering supporters chanted “we’re going to win.”

Le Pen’s second round percentage, when combined with those of Éric Zemmour and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan marks a historic moment in French politics. It is the first time that the far-right have secured more than a third of the first-round vote under the Fifth Republic. 

The final-round duel between Macron and Le Pen is expected to be tighter than the run-off between them in 2017, when the current president thrashed Le Pen with 66 percent of the vote.

Le Pen, bidding to be France’s first ever woman president, looked on course for a higher first-round score than in 2017 when she won 21.3 percent, and she will be able to pick up most of Zemmour’s votes in the second round. 

An IFOP survey, conducted immediately after provisional results were published, projects Le Pen obtaining 49 percent of the vote in the second round, narrowly missing out on power. 

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POLICE

France proposes getting rid of penalties for ‘minor’ speeding offences

The French government is considering changing speeding laws so that drivers will not lose points on their licence if they are caught going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

France proposes getting rid of penalties for 'minor' speeding offences

France’s Interior Ministry is considering changing its current rules for minor speeding violations – proposing getting rid of the penalty for drivers who only violate the rule by going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

The Ministry has not laid out a timeline for when this could come into effect, but they said they are currently in the preliminary stages of studying how the change could be carried out.

“The fine of course remains,” said the Interior Ministry to French daily Le Parisien.

That is to say you can still be fined for going five kilometres over the speed limit, but there might not be any more lost points for driving a couple kilometres over the posted limit. 

READ ALSO These are the offences that can cost you points on your driving licence

Of the 13 million speeding tickets issued each year in France, 58 percent are for speeding violations of less than 5 km per hour over the limit, with many coming from automated radar machines.

How does the current rule work?

The rule itself is already a bit flexible, depending on where the speeding violation occurs.

If the violation happens in an urban area or low-speed zone (under 50 km per hour limit), then it is considered a 4th class offence, which involves a fixed fine of €135. Drivers can also lose a point on their licences as a penalty for this offence. 

Whereas, on highways and high-speed roads, the consequences of speeding by 5 km per hour are less severe. The offence is only considered 3rd class, which means the fixed fine is €68. There is still the possibility of losing a point on your licence, however. 

How do people feel about this?

Pierre Chasseray, a representative from the organisation “40 Millions d’Automobilistes,” thinks the government should do away with all penalties for minor speeding offences, including fines. He told French daily Le Parisien that this is only a “first step.”

Meanwhile, others are concerned that the move to get rid of points-deductions could end up encouraging people to speed, as they’ll think there is no longer any consequence.

To avoid being accused of carelessness, France’s Interior Ministry is also promising to become “firmer” with regards to people who use other people’s licences in order to get out of losing points – say by sending their spouse’s or grandmother’s instead of their own after being caught speeding. The Interior Ministry plans to digitalise license and registration in an effort to combat this. 

Ultimately, if you are worried about running out of points on your licence, there are still ways to recover them.

You can recover your points after six months of driving without committing any other offences, and there are also awareness training courses that allow you to gain your points back. It should be noted, however, that these trainings typically cost between €150 and €250, and they do not allow you to regain more than four points.

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