EUROPE

Marine Le Pen might become France’s new President

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National Front Chief and one of France’s main political forces Marine Le Pen, is a main contender for the presidential elections in April.

Le Pen has vowed to put French citizens first by curbing migration and holding an EU referendum if she is voted president. After the launch of her presidency in Lyon, she vowed to stop France from being globalised and ensure citizens have more rights than foreigners.

The 48-year old daughter of National Front Founder Jean-Marie Le Pen is climbing opinion polls as favourite to win the first round of voting following allegations of fraud clouding Francois Fillon’s presidency.

The head of the far-right anti-immigrant, anti-European Union National Front witnessed a 25 percent surge in a February 4 poll by BVA, to 21-22 percent for independent candidate Emmanuel Macron and 18-20 percent for Francois Fillon of the centre-right party.

This shift in the polls came as a scandal engulfed Francois Fillon’s campaign, following his clear lead as favourite to win the French elections.

Her campaign promises include holding a referendum on EU membership, leaving the euro zone, taxes on imports, taxes on employment of foreigners, lowering retirement age and income tax,  and increasing welfare.

“The aim is first of all to give France its freedom back and give the people a voice,” she said in an introduction to her party’s manifesto.

French pundits have declared that Le Pen doesn’t stand a chance at the presidency, but her supporters are adamant that if Donald Trump could win the US presidency on a populist message, so can Le Pen. EU populists see Trump’s victory as beginning of end for old world order.

Despite Fillon’s battles, opinion polls see her winning the first round of elections in April 23, but losing the second round to a more mainstream candidate.

Under the French system, if no presidential candidate wins a first-round majority and no one tops 50 percent, the two top finishers face off in a second round scheduled for May 7.

Le Pen has solid support but she is also France’s most polarizing candidate and her anti-Europe views are rejected by most French voters. That could potentially hurt her in a one on one race.

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