France's Le Pen Gains in Polls
by Stephen Lendman
Polls show Le Pen ahead of her two main rivals in France's presidential race less than two months before first round April 23 voting.
Her support rose to 27%, Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron each at 20%. Polls so far show her losing in May 7 run-off voting, but she's closing the gap on her rivals.
Macron leads her by a 58 - 42% margin, his lead halved in less than two weeks. Can Le Pen pull even with him and Fillon, maybe achieve a stunning upset, becoming a long-shot winner like Trump in America?
If elected in May, she vowed to hold a national Frexit vote and pull France out of NATO, saying it solely "serve(s) Washington's objectives."
A longtime Eurosceptic, she said "Frexit will be a part of my policy. The people must have the opportunity to vote for the liberation from slavery and blackmail imposed by technocrats in Brussels to return sovereignty to the country."
She favors closed borders, returning to the franc as France's currency, abandoning Eurozone control over the country's monetary and fiscal policy.
"Other people have shown the way," she said, referring to Trump's triumph and last June's UK Brexit vote.
Her manifesto reflects right-wing, nationalist, Eurosceptic policies the National Front (FN) advocated since her father, Jean-Marie, founded the party in 1972.
In 2011, Marine Le Pen assumed party leadership, her father expelled in 2015 over ideological differences. "Voluntarily or not, he gave ammunition to our adversaries," she said. "Today (they) no longer have that ammunition."
Obstacles to her chance for leadership go beyond winning a second round run-off. The FN holds only two parliamentary seats, likely making it impossible to fulfill campaign promises.
She's limited in what she can accomplish by decree. She has little common ground with other parties. Dominant center-left and center-right ones oppose her agenda.
Rebranding the FN helped her, including promoting women's rights, gay and lesbian rights, opposing anti-Semitism and Muslim immigration, saying "(w)e do not want to live under the rule or threat of Islamic fundamentalism."
She accused Muslim immigrants of "looking to impose on us gender discrimination in public places, full body veils or not, prayer rooms in the workplace, prayers in the streets, huge mosques."
She praised Trump, supports detente with Russia, rejects the notion of it invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea, at the same time calling sanctions "stupid."
Like America, France never had a female president. If Le Pen defies long odds and wins, it'll be a stunning upset few expect.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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