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Leader of French far-right says government lied, concealed Covid failures

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right party National Rally (RN)
Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right party National Rally (RN) Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP
3 min

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Rally party, has published a scathing summary of what she describes as the government's mishandling of the Covid-19 health crisis. Le Pen says President Emmanuel Macron and his ministers deliberately held back information and lied to the public.

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Marine Le Pen made the claims at the launch of her book, entitled Livre Noir du Coronavirus, du fiasco à l'abîme (The Coronavirus Black Book, from fiasco to abyss) at a press conference at party headquarters in Nanterre near Paris on Tuesday.

Begun in May, before the easing of lockdown measures, the 168-page text squarely accuses President Emmanuel Macron and his government of misleading the public during the Covid-19 crisis.

The statement on the cover sets the tone: "They knew, they lied, they continue to grope in the dark".

Coordinated by special aide Philippe Olivier, the document, available only online, is divided into two parts – an 'autopsy' of the crisis, and a long chronology of key events. It is intended as a political audit and is designed to hold the current leadership to account, according to the far right National Rally.

Le Pen says the book is an effort to compile and analyse the crucial topics throughout the crisis, and her party's public reactions to them. They include the controversy over wearing masks, the debate over Professor Didier Raoult's promotion of the use of chloroquine to treat Covid-19 sufferers, and the question of border control.

Le Pen zeroes in on what she describes as the "failure of elites" whose "ultra-liberal ideology" and free-trade policies brought about the health crisis in the first place.

European leaders are strongly criticised for continuing to allow free movement throughout the bloc despite the warning signs, and Le Pen still insists that EU internal borders should be closed.

Harsh criticism of government players

She openly criticises the government's handling of confinement in suburban areas, and accuses the justice system of being too lax with regard to releasing prisoners during the crisis.

Along the way, President Macron is described as a theatrical king-like figure, using "smoke screen" communication in order to foster his image of "father of the nation".

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who stepped down in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, is accused of being largely absent from the battlefront, while health minister Oliver Véran, a "neophyte" on the political scene, "took refuge in lies," hiding behind his status as a doctor.

Meanwhile, government spokesperson during the crisis, Sibeth Ndiaye, also gets a roasting, being attacked for her "blundering incompetence" and "ethereal" disposition during the crisis.

Marine Le Pen is not the only person angry with the government's handling of the health situation.

A parliamentary inquiry is underway and dozens of legal complaints against public officials have been filed in the past few months.

 

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