French election shows changing attitudes in Europe

Katrina Barker
May 7, 2017

Then Sunday, in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper, she said "the euro is dead" and that she still wants to have two currencies - one for daily use by the population and one for global trade.

The founder of the far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has called on the French to vote for his daughter Marine Le Pen in Sunday's presidential runoff.

Speaking in Paris after attending a memorial for Brahim Bouarram, who was killed by extreme-right militants in 1995, Macron said he would respond to Melenchon at a rally starting at 5 p.m.

A day earlier, the interim leader of Le Pen's National Front party stepped down over controversial comments about the Holocaust.

At said press conference both leaders formalised a national pact whereby if Le Pen wins the May 7 elections, Dupont-Aignan will be appointed Le Pen's Prime Minister.

French voters go to the polls on Sunday to decide between the two.

Campaigning in Villepinte, a suburb north of the capital, Ms Le Pen told a rally: "Emmanuel Macron is just Francois Hollande who wants to stay and who is hanging on to power like a barnacle".

Marine Le Pen, who has worked to rebrand the FN to shed its associations with her anti-Semitic father, on Sunday laid a wreath at a World War II monument in the port of Marseille as France marked a day of remembrance for the victims of the mass deportation of Jews to Nazi Germany during World War II.

But Le Pen has had problems of her own.

The Socialists and Republicans, the two parties that have governed France since Charles de Gaulle set up its modern institutions, were shut out of the race in the first round of voting on April 23.

"We will build a national unity government that will bring together people chosen for their skills and their love of France", said 48-yearold Le Pen, who has promised a French referendum on quitting the European Union.

In the first round, 22.2 percent of voters abstained: The highest percentage since 2002 when Marine Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie, surged into the second round only to be defeated overwhelmingly by conservative Jacques Chirac.

"I say to anyone who is listening: do not make the awful error of voting for the National Front because you would push the country towards a general conflagration and the ending to which no-one can predict", he said on the TF1 television channel.

"The lower she is, the less strong her ambitions can be for tomorrow", Hollande said.

But Thomas says a "downtrodden" electorate is now facing a vote in which it is opposing Le Pen rather than throwing its support behind Macron.

He said her rival, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, "wants to dynamize the economy, but he is among those who dynamited it".

It sets Macron's enthusiasm for the European Union and call for pro-business reforms to boost growth against Le Pen's desire for France to close its borders to immigrants, unwind European Union institutions and restrict imports to protect jobs.

This time if turnout is low in the second round analysts say Macron could struggle to reproduce the same broad movement against the National Front candidate, citing his mainly free-market policies at a time when anti-establishment feeling has been on the rise in Europe and the United States.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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