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Immigration Issue Could Impact Outcome In French Presidential Election

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French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen temporarily stepping down as party leader

A Le Pen win would at this point be a far greater shock than Donald Trump's victory in the USA election in November.

The 39-year-old, contesting his first-ever election, will face Le Pen in a runoff vote on May 7.

The poll, conducted by Elabe, was published Monday and shows Macron with a commanding lead in the second round vote with 64 per cent of the vote while Le Pen has 36 per cent.

Hollande is now the most unpopular president in France's history and did not seek re-election for himself.

"I am here to speak to you", the pro-business former economy minister told workers, ringed by a horde of cameramen and journalists.

The outgoing socialist president appears to be backing centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the race. Macron seems to truly represent the middle ground between conservative and liberal viewpoints.

During the campaign he was a fierce critic of both former economy minister and investment banker Macron and of National Front leader Le Pen. She wants to allow the Banque de France to print money to fund the treasury up to an annual maximum of 5% of total money supply, and also advocates a 10% cut for the lowest income tax brackets.

His young electorate, attracted by his anti-elite message, euroscepticism and promises to crack down on multinational companies, could play a role, either by not voting on May 7 or joining Le Pen. Aside from her immigration standpoint, Le Pen supports a referendum similar to Brexit, closure of mosques and removing illegal immigrants from the country.

Voters in Geneva put the scandal-hit Republican candidate Fillon in the lead with 34 percent of the almost 20,000 votes cast, followed by En Marche! centrist Macron in second with 32 percent, reported 20 Minutes.

In mid-April, Israel's Foreign Ministry condemned Marine Le Pen for comments on the Holocaust which it said "contradicted historical truth".

Since securing her berth in the run-off, Le Pen has turbo-charged her campaign with a string of appearances and statements, leaving her opponent on the back foot.

Le Pen's ability to beat bigger and more established parties confirms the shift of many across the globe supporting candidates with strong anti-immigrant viewpoints.

Last but not the least, the current tide of Islamophobia makes Macron's task even more hard.

Le Pen wants to pull the nation out of the European Union and close the country's borders to new immigrants.

European policymaking after 2010 was practically a bilateral affair, involving a dominant France and a more dominant Germany.

Dominique Reynie, head of the Foundation for Political Innovation think-tank in Paris, believes Le Pen will not be elected because most French people worry about her scrapping the euro. While Le Pen has held public office before, she comes from a very radical standpoint.

The day after will be challenging for France even with Macron as its president. Robert Kahn writes that the rise of populism and rejectionist candidates in elections constrains mainstream politicians, a challenge compounded by the Brexit vote and the hard negotiations that lie ahead.

She told voters she planned to keep her distance from him, and said being his daughter is "difficult". "I take full responsibility", he said firmly, adding his guests were mostly campaigners who deserved a night out after a year of tireless work.

Kalifat has called anti-immigration and anti-EU Le Pen a "candidate of hate". "Macron is an ultra-leftist who viscerally hates France and the French people".

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