Marine Le Pen 'already succeeded' against Macron says host
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Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron’s main rival in Sunday’s first round of the French presidential election, has achieved incredible shrinkage of the margin separating the two according to a US political commentator. Kosha Gada believes Le Pen has “already succeeded” in sending a clear message in the same “mould as Brexit.”
Ms Gada told Sky News Australia: “LePen is grabbing the world’s attention once more.
“The latest polling the range of it shows her trailing Macron by six points. I think that was the worst poll that I saw all the way to as little as two points in the best-case scenario.
“That is an incredible shrinkage of the margin compared to what she did in 2017 the last time she challenged him in that last election.
“So [a shock victory] is certainly conceivable I think it’s in the mould of what we saw with Brexit, what we saw the Trump etcetera.”
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She added: “But even if she doesn’t, I think if you believe the polls, it looks like Macron will eke out a victory even though she’s giving him a run for his money.
“But either way, she has already succeeded in sending a really, really strong message to the leadership of France and frankly, to the leadership of other liberal democracies that are facing similar dynamics in their own countries, where a growing percentage of the electorate is just really, really dissatisfied with the direction of their countries.”
On Friday President Macron accused his far-right challenger of lying to voters about her “racist” platform as he sought to rally support two days before the first round of the presidential election.
The race appears to be narrowing down to the two finalists of the 2017 election, and while Macron so far has kept clear of any direct debate, the two have increasingly taken aim at each other from afar.
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“There was a clear strategy [from Le Pen’s camp] to hide what is brutal in her programme,” Macron told Le Parisien in an interview published on Friday.
“Her fundamentals have not changed: It’s a racist programme that aims to divide society and is very brutal.”
Le Pen told broadcaster Franceinfo that she was “shocked” at the accusation, which she rejected, branding the president “febrile” and “aggressive”.
She said her programme, which includes adding a “national priority” principle to the French constitution, would not discriminate against people on grounds of their origin – as long as they held a French passport.
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Opinion polls show Le Pen has been boosted by her strategy to focus on the cost of living just as record-high prices at the petrol pump and food inflation are making it voters’ top concern.
In a meeting on Thursday with readers of Le Parisien newspaper, Macron promised to extend costly measures to shield voters from rising electricity and petrol prices, and said that when companies pay dividends, they should be forced to share some of the profits with employees.
On Friday, he also denied he had veered too much to the right during his first mandate, which saw him cut taxes on the rich, reduce housing allowances and order a police crackdown on “yellow vest” protests.
“With what we’ve done for education and hospitals, I don’t have the feeling it’s a right-wing platform,” Macron said on RTL radio, stressing that although he was promising to raise the retirement age, he was also planning to increase the minimum monthly pension to 1,100 euros.
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