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Concern mounts in France over likely ‘Trump’ win



Meet Marie Le Pen, the Trump of France




By Nsikan Ikpe

Concern is mounting in France at the moment over the rising possibility that, helped by the recent Brexit and Trump reversals,  right wing nationalist leader, Ms Marie Le Pen may be elected President in the forthcoming polls.

This is not the first time Ms Marie Le Pen is pitching to become President in France, but after the shock Brexit results and now Hurricane Donald Trump in America, it is looking quite likely that she is only a foot away from winning.

In 2012, Ms Le Pen came third in the first round of the French presidential race with 17.9 per cent of the vote, behind Mr Sarkozy with 27.18 per cent and eventual winner, Mr Hollande with 28.63 per cent.

Now the polls say that Le Pen has taken a decidebly very huge lead over Nicolas Sarkozy in new French presidential election poll and the results are adding to growing fears far-right leader could be on course for victory in wake of shock Brexit and US presidential votes

Of course, Ms Le Pen, like other French nationalist politicians, who is known to be a very keen supporter of Brexit is clearly relishing the present moment.

The far-right leader holds 29 per cent of the vote when pitted against Les Républicains’ Nicolas Sarkozy, who was eight points behind, and held a 15-point lead over the Parti de Gauche’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the poll released by Ipsos, which analysed five scenarios with different frontrunners.

While Les Républicains’ Alain Juppe remains strong favourite to succeed Francois Hollande, the results are likely to add to growing fears that the rise of global populism could see Ms Le Pen on course to clinch the French presidential win, in the wake of the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s victory in the US election.

Marine Le Pen also claims no difference between her policies and the UKIP movement of the UK which had championed the Brexit vote.

The French poll is coming just as leading French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy has warned that people had lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth, a development he said could set the National Front on course to occupy the Élysée Palace.

“If Trump is possible, then everything is possible. Nothing, from now on, is unimaginable,” Mr Levy stated in a recent interview.

“As for Le Pen it is unlikely that she wins but it is possible, and that is partly because the people have lost interest in policy, instead focusing on personality.

“The people listen less and less to policy and they even seem less concerned about whether the candidates are telling the truth or not.

“They are more interested in the performance, in the theatrical quality of what is said than whether it is true. And as we know, a fascist can put on a very successful performance.”

The latest polls come as French conservatives vote on Sunday to choose their presidential nominee to face Ms Le Pen in the May election.

Seven candidates are competing for position in the primaries, and a second vote will be held next week to decide between the two frontrunners.

The three leading candidates are former president Mr Sarkozy and former prime ministers Francois Fillon and Alain Juppé.

Many voters will be hoping Mr Juppé wins the nomination, who is currently polling seven per cent ahead when pitted against Ms Le Pen in the latest Ipsos poll.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said a Le Pen win next year could be “possible” and has warned of the danger of electing a far-right president, with many expecting Ms Le Pen to face a candidate from the centre-right if she makes it to the second round, given the current unpopularity of the ruling Socialist party.

Ms Le Pen has led the far-right National Front since 2011, when she succeeded her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party’s founder.

Since taking over the party, Ms Le Pen has made efforts to distance herself from her father’s openly antisemitic views, who has been convicted repeatedly for hate speech and contesting crimes against humanity, including describing gas chambers used to kill Jews in the Holocaust as a “detail” of history.

However, critics have branded Ms Le Pen a “fascist” and accused her of exploiting growing anti-immigration sentiment.

The 48-year-old appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Remembrance Sunday, causing a crowd of Unite Against Fascism protesters to gather outside the BBC building.

Jeremy Corbyn, who also appeared on the show, told Marr: “She uses this populism against minorities in order to get herself elected.

“The reality is she does not have an economic answer to the problems faced by the left behind communities in France any more than Ukip has an economic answer to the left behind communities in Britain.

“It’s only communities coming together with public investment that can deal with the fundamental economic injustices that are getting worse not better in Europe.”

Pix: French nationalist leader, Ms. Marie Le Pen


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