Marine Le Pen Reckons She’ll Be President of France Next Year
(Bloomberg) -- Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said she’s going to win next year’s presidential elections in France and that she’s going to spend the months leading up to the ballot showing voters why she deserves to be in the Elysee palace.
“I think I will win,” the National Rally chief said in an interview on French BFM television late on Thursday, adding that she knows there are people who worry about the idea of her taking the country’s top job. “I have a year in front of me to explain to them what I want to do.”
A recent poll for Harris International showed that President Emmanuel Macron is still more likely to edge out Le Pen in the runoff of the April 2022 ballot, although his advantage is much narrower than when they faced off in 2017. It also showed that half of the voters who support other candidates would abstain in the second round if they had to choose between the two.
And just before her TV appearance, a new survey by Elabe showed that one in two French people think it’s possible that she wins this time around, in what would be her third attempt to claim the presidency.
To stage her comeback, the daughter of party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen has been tapping into anger over economic inequality and the dominance of Paris over the regions, key drivers of the Yellow Vest protests that spread across the country in 2018. She’s also toned down her anti-EU rhetoric and taken measures to root out racists in her party.
Read more: France’s Election Season Kicks Off With Le Pen Sparring on Islam
A confident-sounding Le Pen laughed when she was shown a video clip from her father’s blog in which he called her a centrist, like Macron. She said that is definitely not the case.
Much of the interview was spent talking about themes she’s supremely comfortable with, security, Islam and immigration.
When asked if she was xenophobic, she said, “I do not have negative feelings toward foreigners, no hatred, no fear.” She repeated past vows to “master immigration.”
Who’s the Toughest?
Referring back to a debate between her and hard-line Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, during which he said she was “soft” on Islamism and “needed to take vitamins,” she said, “Darmanin would like to think he is harder than me, but he isn’t hard with the right people.”
On the economy, which proved to be her weak suit in 2017, Le Pen said, “Debt servicing should be made compatible with our economic growth plans.”
“It shouldn’t result in austerity, selling off government sector assets and destroying or even undermining the government sector and government-funded services,” she added.
Le Pen again slammed the government’s approach to the pandemic, saying the restrictions that Macron has imposed on daily life in France are “absurd” and “arbitrary.”
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