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European Elections

BREAKING NEWS: French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen steps DOWN as head of National Front in bid to woo moderate voters

  • The Front National leader quit as she made it to the second round of voting
  • She will face off against centrist Emmanuel Macron in the final vote on May 7 
  • President Hollande told voters Le Pen would ruin the economy if she is elected

French far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen has announced that she is temporarily stepping down as her party’s leader.

The Front National leader revealed she would be quitting her role in her party to focus on the upcoming Presidential election.

Monday’s move appears to be a way for Le Pen to embrace a wide range of potential voters ahead of the May 7 runoff between herself and Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist who came in first in Sunday’s first round.

French far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen has announced that she is temporarily stepping down as her party's leader in a bid to focus on the presidential election on May 7

‘Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate,’ she said on French public television news.

The news comes as she made it to the second round of the vote.

In the first round of voting centrist Emmanuel Macron won 23.9 per cent and Le Pen received 21.4 per cent.

Le Pen has said in the past that she is not a candidate of her party, and made that point when she rolled out her platform in February, saying the measures she was espousing were not her party’s, but her own.

In the first round of voting Emmanuel Macron received 23.9 per cent of the vote. He was Hollande's top adviser on economic issues from 2012 to 2014 and was economy minister

Le Pen has worked to bring in voters from the left and right for several years, cleaning up her party’s racist, anti-Semitic image to do so.

Much of the antagonism towards the Front Nationale stems from its association with her father, the convicted racist and Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is now 88.

He founded the FN in 1972, at a time when it was associated with street violence and hatred of foreigners.

Le Pen's father Jean-Marie founded the Front Nationale in 1972, when it was associated with street violence and hatred of foreigners. He is a convicted racist and Holocaust denier

Mr Le Pen has officially been kicked out of the FN byhis daughter, but he bizarrely remains honorary president of the party and anMEP.

He has also funded his daughter’s campaign by the equivalent of more than5 million pounds.

Through resigning from the FN leadership Ms Le Penalso hopes to emulate France’s most famous ever president, General Charles deGaulle.

De Gaulle founded the current Fifth Republic in 1958and always tried to portray himself as a universal leader of France, ratherthan just a party political leader.

After the first round of voting, French President Francois Hollande has urged voters to choose centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the May 7 presidential runoff to keep out Le Pen.

It comes as Le Pen went through to the second round of the French Presidential election, where she will face off against centrist Emmanuel Macron. She said on French television: 'Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate'

Speaking from the Elysee presidential palace, Hollande says that Le Pen’s platform of pulling out of the euro would devastate the country’s economy and threaten French liberty.

He says that the far right would ‘deeply divide France’ at a time when the terror threat requires ‘solidarity’ and ‘cohesion.’

Macron was Hollande’s top adviser on economic issues from 2012 to 2014, then economy minister in his Socialist government for two years.

While Macron is a committed Europhile, Le Pen wants to pull France out of the EU. She once asked a television programme to remove the European flag from the stage during her speech

In April 2016, he launched his own political movement, En Marche! (In Motion!) to prepare his presidential bid as an independent centrist candidate. He quit the government few months later.

This morning an Opinionway poll predicted Le Pen will end up being beaten by her opponent on May 7 with just 39 per cent of the vote compared to Macron’s 61 per cent.

Today Le Pen’s supporters took aim at Macron, calling him ‘arrogant’ and said ‘he was speaking as if he had won already’.

‘Emmanuel is not a patriot. He sold off national companies. He criticised French culture,’ Florian Philippot, deputy leader of Le Pen’s National Front told BFM TV, saying she and Macron held completely different visions of France.

‘That was disdainful towards the French people,’ Phillipot said. Macron’s victory dinner celebrations at Paris’s upscale Rotonde restaurant amounted to ‘bling-bling biz,’ he said.

Macron is fierily promoting common European ideals of peace, prosperity and freedom. He says that, with Britain leaving, the bloc needs to build a new leadership base anchored by France and Germany.

French President Francois Hollande has urged voters to choose centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and said Le Pen would devastate the country's economy and threaten French liberty

He wants the bloc to be able to deploy 5,000 European border guards to the external borders of the Schengen passport-free travel zone, and proposes a European fund to finance and develop shared military equipment.

Le Pen, on the other hand, wants to pull France from the European Union. She advocates for closing France’s borders, protectionist trade policies and dropping the shared euro currency to return to the French franc.

She promised to restore France as a sovereign state in charge of its own borders and money supply, and to crack down on immigration.

Emmanuel Macron billed himself as being 'neither of the left or of the right' and has campaigned on a pro-EU, pro-business platform. Many of his supporters fly European flags at his rallies

She considers Macron ‘an immigrationist’ because he has backed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policies to welcome refugees from Syria.

Le Pen asked a television program to remove the European flag from the stage during her speech. During Macron’s rallies, by contrast, many supporters wave European flags alongside French flags.

Macron was virtually unknown before his mentor, outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande, made him economy minister in 2014.

But as Hollande entered the fifth year of a tumultuous presidency, becoming France’s most unpopular leader in living memory because of a dismal economic record, Macron struck out on his own.

Le Pen often wears sombre suits or plays on the blue, white and red colours of the French flag

Styling himself as being ‘neither of the left or of the right’, he has campaigned on a pro-EU, pro-business platform.

But with liabilities such as a slim resume and association with Hollande’s failed policies, Macron may owe more than he realises to the fact that he is not Le Pen.

Le Pen, 48, is an experienced leader making her second bid for the French presidency. She has held elected office several times in northern France and has been a European lawmaker since 2004.

On stage, she favors a classic style, often wearing somber suits or playing on the blue-white-red colours of the French flag.

A rousing speaker, she likes to use dramatic, cut-to-the-chase expressions and doesn’t hesitate to harshly criticize her rivals.

At a rally last night, Le Pen told her supporters she is offering ‘the great alternative’ in the presidential race. 

She said: ‘This is a historic result. The French must take the step for this historic opportunity. This is the first step to drive the French [people] into the Elysee Palace.

‘It is time to liberate the French people from the arrogant [political] elite.’

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4441258/Marine-Le-Pen-stepping-party-leader.html#ixzz4fCI2XFgH

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