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France: Marine Le Pen set to run in presidential election

The far-right candidate has secured the support of 500 elected officials, as required for those standing in the French presidential election.

Image: Claude Paris/AP/Press Association Images

FAR-RIGHT LEADER Marine Le Pen has secured the support required to run in the French presidential election.

The National Front candidate has gained support of 500 elected officials, after noting last week that she was finding it difficult to secure the endorsement needed to stand.

Le Pen is currently ranked third in the latest opinion poll by Ifop, following the Social Party’s Francois Hollande and the incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy, who are in second and first place respectively, reports the BBC.

The poll indicated that Sarkozy would secure 28.5 per cent of the vote on the first round, Hollande would get 27 per cent, Le Pen 16 per cent and Centrist candidate Francios Bayrou 13 per cent.

All French presidential candidates were required to have signed endorsements of 500 elected local officials by 16 March. It was speculated that if Le Pen had failed to win endorsement her supporters would have voted for Sarkozy.

Le Pen’s campaign has shifted from the traditional anti-immigration stance of the National Front, and is now focusing agitating for France to leave the euro and erect protectionist barriers, reports Reuters.

Immigration has traditionally been a hot button issue in French politics because the country has applied policies based on integration for several decades – a focus which has routinely been criticised by politicians on the right. Last week, Sarkozy announced that he believed there were too many immigrants in France and promised to halve the number of arrivals to the country if he is re-elected next month.

In February, Le Pen lost a legal battle in her bid to run for president, with the Constitutional Court ruling that her backers’ names must be made public.

The first round of the election will take place on 22 April, followed by another on 6 May.

French far right presidential candidate must reveal her backers>

Sarkozy: France has too many foreigners>

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