FRANCE/FILE: Marine Le Pen-The new face of France's far-right and third runner up in race to the...
- Title: FRANCE/FILE: Marine Le Pen-The new face of France's far-right and third runner up in race to the presidential election
- Date: 15th February 2012
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (FEBRUARY 1, 2012) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF FRENCH SENATE WITH GATHERING OF LE PEN SUPPORTERS LE PEN WALKING TO STAGE WHILE SUPPORTERS SHOUT: "MARINE FOR PRESIDENT" SUPPORTERS CHEERING FOR LE PEN VARIOUS OF LE PEN MAKING SPEECH ON STAGE (SOUNDBITE) (French) NATIONAL FRONT FAR RIGHT PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MARINE LE PEN SAYING: "I am not addressing Nicolas Sarkozy but the millions of French people who are about to vote for me." LE PEN ON STAGE SUPPORTERS LISTENING LE PEN LEAVING STAGE
- Reuters ID: LVA3FZHBV9XL5FWAW683FL9MHQ4Q
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:01:02
- Topics: Politics
- Story Text: Since taking over the leadership of France's far-right National Front from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in January 2011, Marine Le Pen has toned down the party's anti-immigration rhetoric and is presenting herself as the saviour of France's working class.
Running third in opinion polls behind Socialist challenger Francois Hollande and President Nicolas Sarkozy (who is yet to announce his candidacy), Le Pen appeals to what she calls the victims of globalisation: the thousands of French blue-collar workers who have lost jobs as companies move to low-wage countries.
To restore French competitiveness, she wants France to exit the euro and to boost employment she plans to close French borders to cheap Chinese imports.
"I think that with time the French will understand that there is no other solution but to come back to a national currency. We need to explain to them clearly that there is no particular danger in a return to a national currency. After all, 95 percent of the world's countries have their own currency and they are happy with that. Most of France's history occurred with one country and one currency, we have had the euro for only ten years and it is in reality an extremely short period, brackets that we can perfectly close without any dramatic change for our country, on the contrary," Marine Le Pen told Reuters in August last year.
Le Pen wants France to reindustrialize, give the state a stronger regulatory role and threatens to bring the banks to heel.
Continuing on from her father, she also wants tough measures on immigration which, see says, is part of France's economic problems:
"Immigration is being used to lower the French' salaries and, because of the massive unemployment situation, it (immigration) is a burden for the national community, so it is a weight for public finances since it is not productive. So it (immigration) is one of the aspects of the problems with our economy," she said.
Tall, blonde and telegenic, the twice-divorced single mother is a formidable debater, with a fast wit and a knack for killer one-liners delivered in a gravel-ly, smoker's voice.
While her provocative father was shunned by French media, Marine Le Pen is a daily presence in the French news cycle.
To soften the party's image, she has taken her distance from extremist groups linked to the Front.
Last year, she expelled a young Front militant after a man resembling him was pictured making the Hitler salute in front of a Nazi flag, and she has since thrown out a dozen or so other members.
Le Pen has no chance of winning the French presidential election, but she would dearly like to knock out Sarkozy in the first round of voting on April 22, and make it to the second round against Hollande on May 6, as her father did in 2002.
But only two months away from the first round, Le Pen still has one last hurdle to overcome. She needs 500 signatures from french mayors across France in order to qualify as a presidential candidate. Despite Le Pen's more acceptable image, mayors across France tend to shy away from giving their signed approval as it would be made public.
The National Front has constantly faced the problem in previous elections with some thinking that it is just a way to attract attention.
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