Tuesday, 25 April 2017

France elections: Le Pen steps aside as National Front leader

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Ms Le Pen took over the FN leadership from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in January 2011.
Marine Le Pen has gone straight on to the attack. If the polls are to be believed, she has a lot of ground to make up - and she wants to hit Emmanuel Macron hard and early.
The ideological battle lines are clear. From now until 7 May, she will portray her rival as representing a kind of anti-France. Nothing in his programme, she said in her TV interview, suggested he had one iota of love for France; she, by contrast, is the patriot.
The other line of attack is to play up his past associations with President François Hollande. Mr Macron is "Hollande's baby", she said in the interview. This is clever politics, because the same argument was used before the first round by François Fillon's Republicans, whose votes she now needs.
If Mr Macron was unacceptable then, she is saying, then he is still unacceptable now. So vote for me.

She won 7.6 million votes on Sunday - the strongest ever result for a FN candidate, and 2.8 million more than her father won in 2002.
Her party wants to slash immigration, clamp down on trade, and overturn France's relationship with Europe.
Her campaign has called for:
  • Negotiation with Brussels on a new EU, followed by a referendum
  • "Automatic" expulsion of illegal immigrants and legal immigration cut to 10,000 per year following an immediate total moratorium
  • "Extremist" mosques closed and priority to French nationals in social housing
  • Retirement age fixed at 60 and 35-hour week assured

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