In a speech Wednesday, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen promised an end to the “poison” of Islamic radicalism if she were elected, The Associated Press reports.
Le Pen made the remarks in the southern French city of Marseille, where she was holding her last rally before Sunday’s first round of voting.
Le Pen, who heads the National Front party, is a populist favorite often compared to Donald Trump. She used the rally to call for a “national insurrection, peaceful and democratic … to give France back to its people.”
The AP also reported she used the last few days before the election to emphasize her positions on “security, illegal immigration and the French identity, which she says is being lost as Islamists try to usurp French civilization and multiply the threat of terrorism.”
According to Politico, polls showed Le Pen in second place in first round voting, trailing centrist Emmanuel Macron by a margin of 24 percent to 21.5 percent. Conservative candidate François Fillon, recovering somewhat from a nepotism scandal, was in third place with 20 percent.
If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of Sunday’s vote, the two top vote-getters will compete in a runoff election on May 7.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a far left candidate who has promised a 100 percent tax on the rich if he is elected, was the only other candidate who seemed to have a chance to make it to the second round; he was polling at 19.5 percent.
A prospective second-round matchup between Macron and Le Pen had Macron leading by a 65 percent to 35 percent margin. However, we’ve seen just how well polls predicted our election last year, so there’s that.
Le Pen has been a figure in French politics for a number of years. She took over control of the party from her father, the controversial Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2011, according to the BBC.
In 2012, she finished third in the first round of balloting for president. However, a series of terrorist attacks in France and a wave of anti-EU sentiment have catapulted her party’s stance against Islamic extremism into the spotlight.
How much has that changed the political landscape in France? We’ll get our first glimpse on Sunday.
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