And on Holocaust Remembrance day, European Jewish congress president Moshe Kantor said the National Front leader was “no less unsafe than her Holocaust-denying father who she has tried to hide” – expelled party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.
The move comes just a day after she reached the second round of the French election, where she will face centrist Emmanuel Macron.
By consistently hammering on her populist themes that the European Union is straightjacketing and impoverishing France, that open borders are open doors for job-taking migrants and murderous Islamic extremism, and that the French political elite is guilty in all this and more, Marine Le Pen is more on-message than her father.
Under France’s Fifth Republic, the president is the head of state, very much like a monarch in other countries, a role described by founder Charles De Gaulle as being above party politics – something Le Pen may have had in mind in her Monday night statement.
While Le Pen presents herself as an anti-establishment candidate, Macron claimed on the contrary that she is “the heiress of this system”.
French far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine le Pen waits before a national homage to slain police officer Xavier Jugele, in the courtyard of the Paris Police headquarters, Tuesday, April 25, 2017. “This evening, I am no longer the president of the FN, I am the presidential candidate, the one who wants to bring together all the French people around the project of hope, prosperity, and security”. “A snap poll from Ipsos on Sunday showed 62 per cent support for Mr Macron and 38 per cent for Ms Le Pen”. “He is addressing them”, she said, adding that unlike Macron she had campaigned in rural France. French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, speaks to journalists after a visit at the Raymond Poincare hospital in Garches, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
The announcement, made during an interview with the French broadcaster France2, caused some confusion, as it was not immediately clear what her withdrawal from the far-right frontline would mean practically.
Whichever candidate wins on May 7 will need to try to build a majority six weeks later in a parliament where the FN has only two seats and Macron’s year-old En Marche!
Conservative Francois Fillon, who had been the favorite to win the election before allegations emerged that he had paid his wife and two children from the public purse for work they did not do, came third with less than 20 percent.
Le Pen announced Monday she was stepping down from the party leadership while running her campaign. At 48, she still has time and, with each passing vote, perhaps a little bit more of France on her side.
Le Pen holds out a still starker comparison, saying French voters will be making a choice between “uncontrolled globalization and the nation”.