French President: It's my Duty to Prevent Le Pen Victory
Monday, 06 March 2017

While French presidential polls remain volatile, and according to some, rather useless in light of the polling industry's striking failure to forecast either Brexit or Trump's victory, one person is looking beyond the daily headlines and gyrations, which have suggested a surge for Macron in recent weeks at the expense of FIllon ...

... and warning that Marine Le Pen could win the forthcoming presidential election in France. That is the opinion of outgoing President Francois Hollande, who vowed on Monday to "do everything" in his power to stop it happening, adding it was his "ultimate duty" to prevent a Le Pen victory.

While Le Pen remains a favorite to win the first round of the French presidential election on April 23, she is then expected to lose in the deciding second-round run-off on May 7 either to the centrist and pro-business Emmanuel Macron or conservative candidate Francois Fillon. However, with Fillon's campaign in turmoil over embezzlement allegations, analysts - having been burned twice already in the past year on their election forecasts - have warned that the election is extremely difficult to predict.

"There is a threat" of Le Pen winning the election, Hollande acknowledged in comments to French daily Le Monde cited by Reuters. "The far-right has not been so high (in the polls) for more than 30 years but France will not give in," vowed the president.

France "is aware that the vote on April 23 and May 7 will determine not only the fate of our country but also the future of the European project itself," he added, envisioning Le Pen's vow to ditch the euro as France's currency if elected and hold a referendum on the country's membership of the European Union.

Hollande, whose socialist regime has battled stubbornly high unemployment throughout his five-year term and has suffered low poll ratings, decided last year not to run for a second term, an unprecedented decision.

He said it was his "last duty... to do everything to ensure that France is not convinced by such a plan" of taking the country out of the EU.

"My ultimate duty is to make sure that France is not convinced by such a plan" of taking the country out of the EU, "and that France does not bear such a heavy responsibility,"
said Hollande of the risk of a Le Pen victory in the election.

He added it was inevitable that the European Union would have countries progressing at "different speeds" and that he saw no reason to call into question Donald Tusk's role as president of the European Council.

Finally, he opined on the stock market, and said the "euphoria" of financial markets after the election of U.S President Donald Trump appeared to be "very premature."

While Hollande's stance vis-a-vis Le Pen and the French right is not surprising, virtually every time when heads of state have made it their own personal crusade to prevent the anti-establishment candidate from winning, it has backfired dramatically. In just over a month it will be revealed if Hollande has done it again.

 



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