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Le Pen Launches Presidential Bid, Vows to 'Put France First'

  • VOA News

Far-right leader presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, center, stands among party officials at the end of a conference in Lyon, France, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.

French Nationalist Marine Le Pen vowed to put "France First" as she launched her presidential bid Sunday, speaking out against globalization.

"The primaries have shown that the debates on secularism or on immigration, as well as on globalization or generalized deregulation do constitute now a fundamental and cross-cutting division," she told crowds in the central city of Lyon.

"The division is not between right and left anymore, but between patriots and pro-globalization."

Le Pen has been a vocal representative of the National Front (FN) party for years, and continues to gain popularity as France falls victim to more terrorist attacks, prompting voters to shift toward nationalist and populist policies. Le Pen in recent months has called to ban the Muslim veil and Jewish kippah on streets.

She has spoken out against immigration for economic reasons as well, echoing claims from U.S. President Donald Trump across the ocean that immigrants claim welfare, taking an unfair share of American tax dollars.

"Do you really think this is normal?" she asked her supporters Sunday. "Tell me, do you think this is normal that a French family who has been working for all their life, can't not even pay for food to eat, while we are giving millions of euros to foreigners?"

Recent polls show that Le Pen has enough support to make it past the first round of French presidential elections, but not enough to win the run-off scheduled for May 7.

"Well, you know, according to polls, Trump should have lost. According to polls, the Brexit should have been rejected, and in Italy according to polls Matteo Renzi's policy should have been adopted," she countered. "I don't believe in polls. . . I really believe in victory, and we will win."

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