Date
23 September 2017
Marine Le Pen attends a rally in Lyon on Sunday to launch her campaign for the French presidential election. Photo: Reuters
Marine Le Pen attends a rally in Lyon on Sunday to launch her campaign for the French presidential election. Photo: Reuters

Le Pen launches election bid with vow to fight globalization

Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front (FN) party, launched her presidential campaign on Sunday, vowing to fight globalization and drastically curb the inflow of migrants.

Addressing thousands of supporters at a rally in Lyon, Le Pen said she alone can protect the French people against the threats posed by Islamic fundamentalism and globalization, Reuters reports.

“What is at stake in this election … is whether France can still be a free nation,” Le Pen told the gathering. “The divide is not between the left and right any more but between patriots and globalists.”

Buoyed by Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential contest and by Britons’ vote to leave the European Union, Le Pen’s anti-immigration, anti-EU party hopes for similar populist momentum in France in the May election.

With hitherto favorite Francois Fillon, a conservative, embroiled in scandal over his wife’s job, and rising centrist star Emmanuel Macron as yet untested, Le Pen’s FN says it can thwart polls that see her losing in a second round run-off.

In 144 “commitments” published on Saturday, Le Pen says she will drastically curb migration, expel all illegal migrants and restrict certain rights now available to all residents, including free education, to French citizens.

An FN government will also take France out of the euro zone, hold a referendum on EU membership, and slap taxes on imports and on the job contracts of foreigners.

“Past leaders chose deregulated globalization. They said it would be happy, it turned out to be atrocious,” Le Pen said. “Financial globalization and Islamist globalization are helping each other out … Those two ideologies want to bring France to its knees.”

While Le Pen has sought to make the FN more palatable to mainstream voters since she took over from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011, her speech on Sunday made clear that its anti-migration, anti-EU policy remained at the core of her agenda, the report noted.

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RC

 

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