Saturday 18 November 2017

US election will aid the far-right in France, says Le Pen

Marine Le Pen (AP)
Marine Le Pen (AP)

David Chazan

Donald Trump's victory is an "additional stone in the building of a new world", Marine Le Pen has said, as fears grow that the far-right politician could become France's next president.

The Front National (FN) leader said Mr Trump "made possible what had previously been presumed impossible", raising her hopes that voters in France would rise up against "the elite" as they did in the United States. She said she would seize on the "global revolution" started by Brexit and Mr Trump to win the French presidency in May.

Her comments on BBC TV's 'Andrew Marr Show' came hours after her niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, claimed that Mr Trump's representatives had invited her to work with the president-elect.

Ms Maréchal-Le Pen (26), who became France's youngest MP in 2012, wrote on Twitter: "I answer yes to the invitation of Stephen Bannon, CEO of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, to work together."

Mr Bannon is a possible contender to become Mr Trump's chief of staff. Yesterday his team denied Mr Bannon had been in direct contact with Ms Maréchal-Le Pen.

Current polls suggest that Marine Le Pen will be beaten in the presidential election, although she is expected to come top in the first round of voting.

However, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former centre-right prime minister, warned that the pollsters, who were wrong about Mr Trump, could also be wrong about Ms Le Pen. "The main news for us French is that Marine Le Pen can win in France," he said. "That means extreme populism can win."

Ms Le Pen, asked if Mr Trump's win made victory more likely for her in France, said: "Yes, I wish that in France also the people upend the table, the table around which the elite are dividing up what should go to the French people."

Like Mr Trump, she has long been an admirer of Vladimir Putin, and said there "is no reason to be scared [of Russia]", urging European leaders to negotiate with Mr Putin.

Insisting that her party was not racist, she said: "I don't think it's racist to say that we cannot take in all the poverty of the world, we cannot take care of hundreds of thousands of people arriving here, because our first obligation is to protect the French people."

She also said that there was not a "hair's breadth" between her party and Ukip, whose interim leader, Nigel Farage, was the first British politician to meet the president-elect.

Irish Independent

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