Friday, 23 February, 2018

French presidency frontrunner Macron tells rival Le Pen nationalism means war

Melinda Barton | 19 April, 2017, 07:05

Francois Fillon of the Republicans party attends a prime-time televised debate for the French 2017 presidential election in La Plaine Saint-Denis, near Paris, France, April 4, 2017.

The three-hour debate involves all 11 candidates, some of whom draw one percent or less of support in polls, and a majority of which are against the EU.

One result of her surge in popularity is that it has outstripped support for one of her main ideas: ditching the euro and quitting the European Union, which remains a fringe position in France even as Le Pen has won greater acceptance in the mainstream.

"You are saying the same lies that we've heard from your father for 40 years", he said.

Le Pen was also seen at 23.5 per cent, down from 24 per cent.

Le Pen and conservative candidate Francois Fillon tried to fend off accusations of corruption by other candidates in the presidential race.

Polls show far-right candidate Le Pen and centrist independent Macron in a dead heat at around 25 percent heading into the first round on April 23.

More than 14,300 people were surveyed for the opinion poll by LeMonde/Cevipof, which showed a sharp rise in voter certainty as choices solidify ahead of the rapidly approaching election.

The candidate facing the most scrutiny however is expected to be Macron, as he is tipped to clinch final victory in a May 7 run-off against Le Pen.

She said: "We must control our country's borders and control who enters and comes out of it".

Rachline, 29, a rising young star in Le Pen's anti-immigration and anti-euro party, had been on the payroll of the Lille-based regional council while at the same time being an elected councillor in a region in Provence, about 1,000 km (625 miles) to the south, it said. "While she expresses her position, her conviction, she is not the president of the National Front, " Marine said adding: "I am president of the National Front".

Turning the topic to security, Ms Le Pen said that France had become a "university for jihadists", prompting angry interruptions from the left-wing candidates.

Socialist Party candidate Benoit Hamon, unlikely to get beyond the election's first round, mocked Le Pen for "playing the victim".

But lesser-known rivals stood out in the debate - notably far left candidates Jean-Luc Melenchon and Philippe Poutou, with their rhetoric for the working classes and jabs at the frontrunners.

"'Make France Great Again' is not necessarily all good news for Trump and the folks in the White House", Keylor told the Herald.

Other anti-EU nationalists such as Francois Asselineau, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Jacques Cheminade, as well as farmer-politician Jean Lassalle, had a rare showcase on the national stage.