Marine Le Pen willing to hold death penalty referendum if she wins French election: 'Let the people speak!'

Critics fear reinstating capital punishment would have France kicked out of the EU

Published

Marine Le Pen has pledged to hold a referendum on reinstating the death penalty if she was elected French president as she vows to "let the people speak" on issues that matter to them.

10 days ahead of the run-off presidential vote, the National Rally candidate said: “I want the referendum to become a classic operating tool."

She refused to rule out a vote on capital punishment, as “there is no forbidden debate in a great, mature democracy," adding: “Letting the people speak isn’t dangerous, what is dangerous is not letting them.”

Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen will take on Emmanuel Macron in a run-off later this month
Marine Le Pen will take on Emmanuel Macron in a run-off later this month

The remarks prompted fierce criticism from rival French President Emmanuel Macron, who accused her of retaining “authoritarian” views and called her plans an “aberration”.

Ms Le Pen has previously suggested capital punishment, which France abolished 16 years after Britain in 1981, should be reinstated in the lead-up to the 2017 election.

Critics, however, argue such a move would have France kicked out of the European Union as members are bound by the Article 2, which states that "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law".

Ms Le Pen reiterated this week that she had no intention of holding a Brexit-style referendum.

She faced further criticism after vowing to ban wind turbines in France, which she called 'horrors that cost us a fortune' as she pushes to boost the nuclear sector.

Mr Macron responded saying on Bleu radio: "Exiting renewables today would be a complete aberration, we would be the only country in the world doing that."

He added that her plan would mean "spending hundreds of millions of euros dismantling existing wind turbines".

The French Renewable Energy Trade Association (SER) said on Thursday that Le Pen's plans would be "a major step backwards for our country and for the climate, by increasing our greenhouse gas emissions and our imports of fossil fuels, at the expense of taxpayers and the most precarious consumers".

Ms Le Pen responded to the criticism of her rival saying to broadcaster France 2: "This [criticism] makes me smile because we have never had a president who showed more signs of extremism than Emmanuel Macron."