Marine Le Pen has come out swinging at her main rival for the French presidency, incumbent Emmanuel Macron.
Appearing on French radio, the National Rally leader gave a powerful riposte to the establishment, reminding them “it’s up to French voters” and confidently declaring, “we are going to the Elysée”, residence of the president of the Republic.
Less than a year out from the crunch vote, Le Pen’s campaign is in fine fettle. Late last month, a Harris interactive poll placed her right behind Macron to win, tightening the gap to within striking distance.
All polls put the two together in the second round of France’s two-ballot system with Macron shading it, 46% to 54%. But with a lot of campaiging to go and France suffering a third Covid wave there is a lot of campaigning to go and Macron is vulnerable. His predecessor in the previous administration under Francois Hollande said recently that Le Pen would win.
Macron “is hated because he’s arrogant…He’s the one who will put Madame Le Pen in power,” warned Arnaud Montebourg, former minister for the economy, industrial renewal and digital affairs.
Macron for his part senses danger from Le Pen and increasingly positions himself as the patriot’s president, in spite of his adoration of the EU.
He received a boost last week when he got Brussels to grant extra fishing licences for French mega trawlers to roam in British waters, following sustained protest from French fishermen blockading UK-landed seafood.
However, Macron’s pivot to the right exposes his left flank and while he does not face a real threat from a left-wing candidate, voter apathy on that side of the spectrum is poised to cost him dearly in the second round, many disaffected workers are also likely to be attracted to Le Pen’s promise to protect France.
Even in 2017, when Le Pen lost heavily to newcomer Macron, turnout was at its lowest level since 1969. Many voters from the left declined to cast a ballot, far more are expected to abstain in 2022.
Speaking to radio RTL this morning, Le Pen said to presenter Alba Ventura: “It’s not up to you if we can or cannot go to the Elysee. It’s up to French voters to say.”
“At the moment, public opinion is saying in the polls that we can and I’m going to say that we are going to the Élysée.
“I appeal to all French voters, I want to create a government of national unity and of civil peace to get out of the situation Emmanuel Macron threw us into.”
Pledging her allegiance to the “nation”, Le Pen once again appealed to “all French voters” with the promise of the “great idea of the nation, and protection of the nation, borders, identity defence, the return of prosperity through an economic model that respects our environment and funded on localism.
“All that, we can and we must reach again. And it’s on the basis of this coherent plan that we’re going to win the election.”