France’s Le Pen launches campaign with anti-EU message
LYON – Agence France-PresseFrance’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen launched her presidential campaign on Feb. 4, with anti-EU and “freedom” for France messages, hoping her anti-establishment message will carry her to power later this year.
Le Pen published a list of 144 “commitments” to the nation, which include pulling France out of the Eurozone, imposing higher taxes on the employment contracts of foreign workers and freeing small firms from red tape.
Opinion polls see the 48-year old daughter of National Front (FN) founder Jean-Marie Le Pen topping the first round on April 23 but then losing the May 7 run-off to a mainstream candidate.
But in the most unpredictable election race France has known in decades, the FN hopes the scandal hitting conservative candidate Francois Fillon and the rise of populism across the West will help convince voters to back Le Pen.
“We were told Donald Trump would never win in the United States against the media, against the establishment, but he won... We were told Marine Le Pen would not win the presidential election, but on May 7 she will win!” Jean-Lin Lacapelle, a top FN official, told several hundred party officials and members.
Le Pen favors an overhauled EU without a single currency.
But she says in her “commitments,” published in a pamphlet and on her website, that if France’s European partners refuse to agree, she will hold a referendum soon after taking power on whether France should remain in the bloc.
Polls currently show she would score the highest of any candidate in the first round of the presidential election on April 23.
However, polls also show she would be beaten in the May 7 runoff, possibly by centrist former banker Emmanuel Macron who has benefited from claims that conservative candidate Fillon arranged high-paying parliamentary jobs for his wife and children.