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Marine Le Pen is ready to appoint leftists if she wins the French presidency

Far-right politician Marine Le Pen has said she is ready to appoint leftists to her government if she is elected French president later this month.

Le Pen, who has already promised one “Government of National Unity”said Thursday that while she would “probably not” work with far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, she would work with other left-wing figures such as Jean-Pierre Chevènement, a former interior minister under Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

“I could very well have people from the Chevènement left, for example, in other words a sovereignist left, a left that supports reindustrialization, the defense of our great industries,” she told RTL radio.

Chevènement himself, who once criticized Emmanuel Macron as a neoliberal, has done so thrown his weight behind the French President in the election campaign. But some politicians on the left share Le Pen’s nationalism, her skepticism about NATO and the EU, and her belief in a strong state. About a quarter of Mélenchon supporters tell the pollsters that if she makes it to the second round and her candidate doesn’t, they will vote for Le Pen and not Macron.

“There are many on the left who are attached to French secularism – which is fitting, it’s a fundamental issue for me – who are attached to education and very much opposed to what Emmanuel Macron is planning to destroy the school system,” Le Pen said.

“There are a lot of people in public service when Emmanuel Macron is about to sink the state,” she added. “These people could just as well be part of my government.”

Le Pen, who used to focus on her efforts to curb immigration to France but has recently focused on the rising cost of living following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has seen opinion polls surge in the weeks leading up to the election.

For the first ballot on Sunday opinion polls show Macron at the top with around 27 percent of the voting intentions, followed by Le Pen with 22 percent and Mélenchon with 16 percent.

Only the top two candidates qualify for the second round two weeks later. In that competition, Macron’s lead over Le Pen has narrowed sharply, raising concerns among investors about the rising risks of a far-right French presidency, a populist earthquake akin to the UK’s Brexit vote, or Donald Trump’s election in 2016.

Macron has also said he wants to unite France for common causes if he wins the election, promising to reform the country’s healthcare system, education and expensive and complex pension systems.

He has presented himself as a reliable statesman in times of war “big disturbances” of geopolitics, the environment and the inequalities of capitalism, and has slammed Le Pen and some of his other rivals for their ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, while stressing the EU’s importance to France.

“I have crisis experience, international experience,” he told Le Figaro in one interview on Thursday. “I also learned from my own mistakes. Crises have shaped me.”

https://www.ft.com/content/1d2bb0f0-a219-42e7-9ba9-634bdd11c396 Marine Le Pen is ready to appoint leftists if she wins the French presidency

Adam Bradshaw

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