French Muslims fear discrimination if Marine Le Pen is elected
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The National Rally leader will face Mr Macron in the French election run-off on Sunday, as the country decides who will occupy the Elysée over the next five years. After two weeks of campaigning and a strong performance against Ms Le Pen in Wednesday’s television debate, the incumbent President appears to have opened up a lead in the opinion polls. An Ipsos survey published on Thursday projected Mr Macron to receive 57.5 percent of the vote, against Ms Le Pen’s 42.5 percent.
Elsewhere, a poll by BVA published on Friday has projected that Mr Macron will win by a convincing margin of 11 points.
Ms Le Pen’s campaign has honed in on the pledge to put more money in French pockets amid fears of inflation and rising living costs linked to the war in Ukraine.
However, the National Rally leader has also long argued for policies which place “France first”, and has a hardline approach to the EU and immigration.
This has been something central to her politics for years, and was present in the build up to the 2017 election when she skewered Mr Macron for speaking English at a press conference.
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Tweeting her rage, Ms Le Pen wrote: “Presidential candidate Macron goes to Berlin to do a conference in English… poor France!”
Florian Philippot, the then deputy leader of what was then the National Front, told AFP that Mr Macron’s move shows that he “has no respect for our language and that he doesn’t believe in France.”
Mr Macron was speaking at Berlin’s Humboldt University about his plans for European security and the euro.
The West will be eagerly waiting for the election’s results as commentators and experts suggest that Ms Le Pen would be a divisive figure in the EU and NATO.
In November last year, the National Rally leader also had the UK in her crosshairs after she urged Mr Macron to be more forceful when confronting Prime Minister Boris Johnson over post-Brexit fishing rights.
Ms Le Pen told reporters: “We must raise our voice with the UK.”
She added that Mr Macron’s administration “keeps repeating threats without ever acting”, adding: “Either you don’t speak or you act.”
Mr Macron has endured a terse relationship with the UK during his five year tenure as President.
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Tensions threatened to boil over last year after the UK and France were engaged in a diplomatic rift over how to manage fishing waters after Brexit.
Then, in November, Mr Macron called Mr Johnson “a clown” during a bitter row between London and Paris over how to respond to the deaths of 27 migrants who tried to reach the UK by crossing the English Channel in a small boat.
Despite this, Professor Rainbow Murray, a politics professor at Queen Mary University of London, claimed that Ms Le Pen would further diminish ties between the UK and France.
Speaking to Express.co.uk she said: “I think a [Ms Le Pen presidency] would further diminish Anglo-French relations.
“Macron has not been a friend to the UK. He’s been quite happy to make Brexit as hard for us as possible because he’s pro-EU and he doesn’t want any other countries to look at the UK’s example and think it’s a good one to follow.
“There’s no love loss between Macron and the UK Government. But Le Pen would create a host of other problems.”
Prof Murray added: “Up until the invasion of Ukraine she was looking to Russia for her alliances and we can’t be guaranteed that that would stop.
“It’s not politically acceptable right now to be openly pro Russia but I think generally that’s where her sympathies lie.
“She admires Putin, she agrees with Putin ideologically and I think that will make things harder for the UK in terms of its own understanding of what it means to be a player in this new world order outside the European Union.
“I don’t think she has any desire to do the UK any favours.
“I don’t think she sees us as an ally; I don’t think she sees us as a friend.
“The devil that we know, however devilish he may be, is better than the alternative from a UK perspective.”
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