French Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen Steps Aside As National Front Leader

May 21, 2017

Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen, leader of the National Front (FN), go head-to-head on May 7 after obtaining the most votes in Sunday’s first round.

On Tuesday, media reported that Macron had considered visiting the Amiens city’s plant, even though the visit was not included in his official agenda.

Ms Le Pen’s statement on Monday denouncing “the old and completely rotten Republican Front” – the coalition of mainstream parties allied against her – sums up her challenge in the May 7 run-off. And polling for the second round of the French vote should be more straightforward to predict as it is more “clean cut” than the first round, according to Oxford Economics.

The intervention by her father follows her announcement yesterday that she plans to step back from day-to-day management of the far-right party he founded ahead of the run-off and marks the latest tussle between the two of them over its future direction.

The two political outsiders each won over 20% of the popular vote in the first round of voting, besting their more established political rivals.

“A Macron presidency avoids the immediate threat of Frexit but he is unlikely to be France?s knight in shining armour”, said Jasper Lawler, Senior Market Analyst at LCG.

Ms Le Pen took over the FN leadership from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in January 2011. European Union lawmakers have already sanctioned Le Pen for misspending European Union funds.

While a financial scandal derailed the presidential bid of French conservative Francois Fillon, Le Pen, who is staunchly anti-EU, has so far survived the allegations unscathed.

“Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front”.

On France 2 television, Macron said the 48-year-old Le Pen would bring disaster to the economy and divide it with “hatred”. “I will feel more free and above partisan considerations”.

Le Pen wants to pull France out of the European Union, which Macron wants to strengthen.

French presidential election candidate for the En Marche! movement Emmanuel Macron gestures at the audience during a meeting at the Parc des Expositions in Paris, on 23 April, 2017, after the first round of the Presidential election.

Le Pen will hold a rally in the Riviera city of Nice on Wednesday, a bastion of France’s right that was targeted by a jihadist-inspired truck attack that killed 86 people in July.

The factory in Amiens, where the production of dryers is due to stop this year and shift to Poland, joins a list of threatened plants that have become symbolic of job losses in French presidential campaigns.

European policymaking after 2010 was practically a bilateral affair, involving a dominant France and a more dominant Germany.

A tomato sailed through the air but missed Le Pen, landing with a splat on a reporter’s head.

“If it wasn’t for the euro, I think she’d have a chance”, he told AFP.

John Friend is a freelance writer who lives in California.

Hollande urges French to reject Le Pen in presidential run-off vote


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