April 21, 2017


Le Pen goes back to her roots on immigration as poll countdown begins (Le Monde, 2017-04-19)

Facing a slight slump in opinion polls just one week before the first-round of France's presidential election, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has returned to her party's core issues: immigration and security.

With only five days left before the first round on April 23 (the top two in the first round go through to the decisive second round on May 7), and with opinion polls forecasting a tight race that is barely possible to predict, Le Pen on Monday re-focused her campaign on immigration.

It is familiar territory for the leader of the National Front (FN), a party which has campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform for over 40 years.

For months Le Pen has been among the frontrunners, and her campaign seemed to be already planning ahead to the critical second round. But amid fresh concerns she could be squeezed out in the first round, her team is now attempting a mini re-launch appealing directly to the FN's traditional voter base. [...]

The new and drastic proposal appears to be aimed at focusing the public debate around the FN's signature issue in the final stretch, and it is a strategy the party has exploited in the past.

A month before France's 2015 regional election, Le Pen called on all asylum seekers to be kicked out at the height of Europe's migrant crisis. During the last presidential election, in 2012, she sparked a heated debate about the ritual slaughter of livestock by certain religions only weeks before the vote.

Posted by at April 21, 2017 1:22 PM