Immigration Issue Could Impact Outcome In French Presidential Election

French voters will now have the opportunity to hear a clear debate about the nation's future over the next two weeks, and Ms. Le Pen has her best opportunity to persuade them to turn back the clock by leaving the Euro currency union, restoring the franc, and closing French borders. He has held a rally in the northern city of Arras on Wednesday while Le Pen was in Nice on Thursday. The French press has been quick to label it a "marketing coup", with no real implications at all.

"Let's promote the "eating French" especially in (school) canteens where our children must take advantage of healthy, quality products", she said. It is largely symbolic, as she will only temporarily be replaced by the party's vice president, Jean-François Jalkh, for two weeks, allowing her to concentrate exclusively on the presidential campaign.

"I will feel more free and above all, above party politics, which I think is important", she said. "Nothing is won. I have never considered one minute that it was won".

(AP Photo/Francois Mori). French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, center, enters his vehicle after a ceremony marking 102nd anniversary of the slaying of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in a brief ceremony, Monday April 24, 2017 in Paris.

Hugh Schofield from the BBC in Paris described the act as symbolic, saying it meant to show that her concern is for the country as a whole, not for her party, and that she is trying to appeal to voters of the candidates who lost in the first round, especially those of François Fillon.

The move comes just a day after she reached the second round of the French election with 21.3 percent of the vote, trailing behind Macron, who acquired 24.01 percent.

With Macron and his "En Marche!" movement at risk of being in a minority in parliament, the center-right party, The Republicans, hopes to secure enough National Assembly seats to demand a government role despite the defeat of its presidential contender Francois Fillon in a first-round vote on April 23.

Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron and anti-immigration leader Marine Le Pen began a final duel for the French Presidency on Monday, after a first round of voting delivered a stunning blow to the traditional political class. He founded the National Front and led the party from 1972 until 2011. "If I'd been in her place I would have had a Trump-like campaign, a more open one, very aggressive against those responsible for the decadence of our country, whether left or right", 88-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen told RTL radio.

Ms Le Pen launched the first broadside of the run-off campaign, claiming her opponent is "weak" in the face of Islamist terrorism during a walkabout in Rouvroy.

On Monday, in what appears to be odd timing, the media started tossing around unsubstantiated allegations of Russian meddling in the French election. "It is a profound conviction - we must now pass from words to deeds".

  • Rogelio Becker