Monday, 19 February, 2018

Marine Le Pen steps down as head of France's National Front party

Emmanuel Macron who heads political movement En Marche! with his wife Brigitte Trogneux Emmanuel Macron who heads political movement En Marche! with his wife Brigitte Trogneux
Orlando Vargas | 07 May, 2017, 13:47

European stock markets surged, and France's main index hit its highest level since early 2008, as investors gambled that the rise of populism around the world - and its associated unpredictability in policymaking - may have peaked.

Mr Macron has already enlisted some 50 sitting Socialist politicians to his cause, as well as a number of centrist party members.

The entire political establishment and every poll had forewarned and foretold of Le Pen's first-round breakthrough.

Speaking from the Elysee presidential palace, Hollande said that Le Pen's platform of pulling out of the euro would devastate the country's economy and threaten French liberty. "Faced with such a risk, it is not possible to remain silent or to take refuge in indifference", he said.

Opinion polls predict that Mr. Macron will win the second round as a majority of voters regard Ms. Le Pen and her party as unsafe for France's democracy and its values.

The move comes just a day after she reached the second round of the French election, where she will face centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Whoever wins on May 7 will need to try to build a majority six weeks later in a parliament where the National Front now has only two seats and Mr Macron's year-old En Marche! "But for the past 10 years, left-wing and right-wing governments have done everything they can for us to lose it", Le Pen said days before the election, after a French citizen killed a police officer and wounded two more on the landmark Champs-Elysees boulevard in an attack for which the Islamic State asserted responsibility.

Choosing from inside the system is no longer an option.

Head-to-head: Emmanuel Macron will meet Marine Le Pen in the runoff.

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The idea, as I understand it, is that, should pro-European leaders be elected in France and Germany, the stage would be set later this year for a new compact between the two largest countries in the Eurozone to re-energize the process of monetary and financial union, and address aggressively other challenges facing Europe including security, migration and Brexit.

She also has tried to distance herself numerous times from a string of controversial comments by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the party before being kicked out in 2015. "He is for total open borders".

She contends Macron's plan for France amounts to "fratricide" because, she says, it pits people and companies against each other, with the strongest winning.

The extreme-right leader Le Pen has always showed a clear positionpoint of view regarding Muslim immigrants in France. On Sunday night, Le Pen called on French "patriots" to support her in the second round.

After the 2002 loss, the younger Le Pen vowed to transform the movement into a force that could actually win elections.

The daughter's political awakening came when she was 8, she has said, after the family's modest apartment was bombed and officials appeared to do little to find the culprit. "So she is in a truly bad position to be talking about the elites".

Mrs Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, tweeted that "the result for Emmanuel Macron shows: France AND Europe can win together!"

According to the French Interior Ministry, Macron won by a slight advantage in the first round, having got 24.01 percent of the votes, while Le Pen got 21.30 percent.

Defeated candidates - conservative Francois Fillon and Socialist Benoit Hamon - did not even wait for Sunday's count to urge their supporters to rally behind Mr Macron.

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