Le Pen makes final push for French presidency

World Today

Like her or loathe her, Marine Le Pen has done something remarkable.

She has shifted the far-right National Front party from the political fringe into the spotlight.

CGTN’s Kate Parkinson reports.

Le Pen's push for the presidency in France

Le Pen's push for the presidency in France

Like her or loathe her, Marine Le Pen has done something remarkable. She has shifted the far-right National Front party from the political fringe into the spotlight. CGTN’s Kate Parkinson reports.

Since taking over as leader in 2011, Le Pen has sought to widen the National Front’s electoral support by detoxifying its image, distancing it from the anti-Semitic, racist, Holocaust-denying rhetoric of her father, who co-founded the party.

Echoing the tried and tested messages of Donald Trump, Le Pen said if she’s president she’ll put “France First” – freeing it from the “tyrannies of globalization, Islamic fundamentalism and the European Union”.

While Le Pen is virtually assured a place in the second round, polls suggest she doesn’t have support from half the country and would not win in the run-off.

But a political scientist, who predicted Donald Trump’s victory, said she doesn’t need it.

He’s calculated that a low voter turnout for Le Pen’s rival could hand her the win. 

“Imagine that Marine Le Pen has 90-percent turnout for her and 70-percent turnout for the challenger. And that she has 44-percent voting intention, which means 56-percent for the challenger. Despite this big difference, she wins the election with 50.02-percent at the end of the day,” political scientist Serge Galam said.

Le Pen’s popularity has dropped lately. There’s been a series of scandals involving party funding.

And she provoked outrage when she denied that the French state was to blame for a notorious round-up of Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris.  

All this could hurt her chance of winning. But in this highly unpredictable election, no one is ruling out the possibility of Marine Le Pen pulling this off and not only becoming France’s first woman president, but also its first far-right leader since the Second World War.