Thursday, 26 May 2022

‘Shocked!’ Marine Le Pen accuses Macron of ‘hostility’ as she rejects RN ‘racist’ label

Le Pen hits back at Macron after accusations of racism

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As the last day of legal election campaigning entered the final leg, the two most likely contenders for the second round of France’s election – Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen – fuelled up tensions with criticism on both sides. Marine Le Pen shot the latest salvo on the French TV channel France Info on Friday morning. Ms Le Pen told the broadcaster: “I found the President of the Republic’s comments extremely outrageous and aggressive.”

In an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien Aujourd’hui en France, President Emmanuel Macron said he has been a “formidable campaign manager” for Ms Le Pen by making her less “outrageous”, further labelling her programme “racist”.

She retorted: “I find him very aggressive since he started campaigning, aggressive in his postures, aggressive in his comments.

“And I must admit that I was quite shocked to hear the President of the Republic, who is the guarantor of the constitution, accuse me of racism.

“So now I challenge the President of the Republic to find a single, a single proposal in my programme that discriminates against French people on the basis of their origin, their religion or the colour of their skin because that is racism.”

Ms Le Pen’s programme, often dubbed of “national priority”, says employment, housing, and social assistance should be reserved for the French as opposed to foreigners.

She said: “The President of the Republic should understand that creating a difference in rights, giving additional rights according to nationality, has never, ever, in any law, been considered as racism.”

“It is a national priority”, Ms Le Pen said, adding that Australia and Switzerland have the same system.

“With the same skills, priority is given to employment for the French rather than for foreigners”, she added

 

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Ms Le Pen’s party, the far-right National Rally, is often associated with racism because of its anti-immigration stance and its protection of French identity.

In 2018, her party – previously known as the National Front – changed names as part of a “de-demonisation campaign” to distance itself from that label.

In the process, Ms Le Pen expelled her father, the former leader of the party, who was nicknamed the “Devil of the Republic” for spreading hate speech, denying the Holocaust and Islamophobia.

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“I think it’s quite natural in France to look for jobs especially for French people, in the same way that I think it’s quite normal for French people to have priority access to social housing that has been paid for by their parents, grandparents and great grandparents”, Ms Le Pen concluded.

According to election rules, giving media interviews, campaigning and election meetings will not be allowed from midnight on Saturday until the closing of all polling stations and the announcement of the results on Sunday at 8 pm. 

The second round of the election will likely see President Macron and Ms Le Pen face off.

The outcome, though, remains unclear as polls show a narrowing gap between the two contenders.

islamophobia.

“I think it’s quite natural in France to look for jobs especially for French people, in the same way that I think it’s quite normal for French people to have priority access to social housing that has been paid for by their parents, grandparents and great grandparents”, Ms Le Pen concluded.

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