With a tense battle for the future of France underway ahead of a presidential runoff election next month, the far-right insurgent Marine Le Pen is pulling a page from the same improbable victory playbook as President Trump: encouraging her opponents to stay home.
Opinion polls suggest that Le Pen’s opponent, centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron, holds a commanding lead ahead of the May 7 runoff, less because French voters believe in him than because they are frightened by Le Pen’s National Front, which has long been dogged by charges of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathies.
But in a year when voters are storming the establishment bastions around the world, many mainstream French politicians are warning that Macron’s campaign is dangerously complacent. Despite polls that show Macron sweeping up more than 60 percent of the vote, several post-election missteps have kept the door open to a Le Pen upset, analysts say — even as the path she must walk to the Elysee Palace is vanishingly thin.
“An election is combat, and it’s necessary to fight,” Ségolène Royal, a senior Socialist leader who has thrown her backing to Macron, told BFMTV.
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