Songbirds flitted among the redbud trees. The wind tickled yellow flowers in fields of rapeseed. The medieval church clock clanged on the hour.
Otherwise all was still in this one-boulangerie town in the French countryside when Marine Le Pen strode to the lectern and, with the unwavering force of a freight train, vowed to save the country on behalf of its forgotten young.
“Our youth are in despair,” the 48-year-old thundered. “I will be the voice of the voiceless.” (more…)
Marine Le Pen’s chances of defeating establishment favourite Emmanuel Macron appear to be improving.
The latest IFOP poll has Le Pen trailing 42% versus 58% in a hypothetical match-up, the highest they have ever had her in such an election.
But if you drill a little into the numbers, Macron’s support is far more vulnerable. 33% of those currently planning to vote for him still say that they could change their mind.
It is a stark contrast to Le Pen’s support base, with 87% committing to vote for her no matter what now.
Also key will be how other vote bases redistribute after the first round of the electoral contest. Conservative Francois Fillon’s current supporters break almost evenly, with 34% backing Le Pen and 37% who would vote for Macron.
This is a contest growing tighter by the week. If the establishment lose in France, the EU is finished.
Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front is leading in the first round of regional elections, leading all parties in six out of 13 regions and garnering 28 percent of the national vote, according to Interior Ministry estimates.
Le Pen and her niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, are both set to take more than 40 percent of the vote in the north and southeast of the country, TV exit polls showed on Sunday.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the people have spoken out and France can now hold her head high. This vote confirms what has not been confirmed by official observers – the National Front is now the leading party in the country,” Le Pen told her supporters.
The Ifop, OpinionWay and Ipsos project polling agencies predict that the National Front won between 27 and 30 percent of the ballots in Sunday’s voting, followed by former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, The Republicans, and President Francois Hollande’s governing Socialists.
If confirmed, it would be the first time the National Front has captured any of France’s regions as well as boost Marine Le Pen’s chances for the presidential election in 2017.
Voters from the east of France, from Alsace to Burgundy, as well as from parts of the center and south, are also expected to choose La Pen and her party.
Since the Paris attacks, Marine Le Pen has been focusing her attention on security and the immigration crisis. Her strong emphasis on these issues in the final days of campaigning has attracted a significant number of new supporters.
Gearoid O Colmain, a French political analyst, believes that Le Pen has been successful due to her rhetoric, which is quite clear for the French.
“It [National Front] speaks the language people understand,” he said.“People say ‘She seems to be the only person is talking sense around here.’ When she says we need to support Assad [to fight terrorism] – she is right.”
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