Marine Le Pen supporters are 'extremely mobilised' says expert
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Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally, wants to bring together voters from across the political spectrum to help deliver her a victory in next year’s presidential ballot. The anti-establishment figure is currently neck and neck in the polls with President Macron ahead of the vote. Ms Le Pen believes she can form a government of national unity – bringing together left and right-wing voters – in a battle of “nationalists” against her rival’s “globalist” views.
Prime Minister Mr Johnson secured a massive Westminster majority by convincing millions of voters to ditch their traditional party allegiances and back him to deliver Brexit.
Asked about her governmental plans, Ms Le Pen said: “I want to put in place a government of national unity and therefore the ministers in my cabinet would not necessarily all come from Rassemblement National.”
The controversial leader has worked on softening and detoxifying her image ahead of the presidential election, which opens in April 2022.
She has worked hard to move away from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen’s leadership of Front National, a far-right nationalist party, since taking over leadership of the movement.
It has sparked a surge in popularity, with Ms Le Pen now within a few percentage points off Mr Macron in what is expected to be a second-round runoff between the pair.
“Since I’ve been put at 47 or 48 percent in the second round, lots of people have found my phone number,” she said, insisting it would be easier for her to find ministers for a future government.
Under the French system, Ms Le Pen would only be allowed to select her own cabinet if her party wins the parliamentary elections following the presidential ballot.
She has firmly positioned herself alongside the likes of Prime Minister Mr Johnson and his government of Brexiteers.
“There’s no more split between left and right, there’s a split between globalists and the nationalists,” Ms Le Pen said.
She is running on a platform of “regulating lobation”, “controlling borders” and “protecting citizens by using the tools of the sovereign nation state”.
Whereas she accused Mr Macron of being “unashamedly a champion of the international mode, in other words deregulation and the death of the DNA of nations”.
Ms Le Pen’s political stance has seen her gain support in northern France’s post-industrial regions, which were once controlled by the French Communist party.
She believes this is a similar to the shift witnessed in the north of England, when Mr Johnson seized control of the Red Wall of former Labour Party-backing seats.
“A whole section of the left voted for Mr Johnson when before they could never have voted for a candidate like him,” Ms Le Pen said.
“Why? Again because these left-wing voters saw Johnson as the candidate capable of controlling globalisation who would stop them becoming the systematic losers from globalisation.
“That’s why we find ourselves in the second round, according to the opinion polls.
“We have, I have, people on my side who from the right and from the left, and the same is true for Emmanuel Macron.”
Emmanuel Macron: Polls show Marine Le Pen's popularity rising
Ms Le Pen has refused to abandon her traditional supporter base and intends to press on with plans to “radically change” France’s immigration system.
She wants to deport criminals and Islamists to their countries of origin, as well as workers who have not held a job for a certain period of time.
The move would also see no automatic right to French nationality for those born in the country.
She said: “You either inherit or merit French nationality.”
But Ms Le Pen insisted she was not “extreme right”, and said the term was used by political rivals to discredit her.
“I am not extreme,” she said. “What’s more, a good part of what I am proposing is already enforced in many countries around the world, including in some cases in the US and Great Britain.”
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