Far-right hopeful: French election 'choice of civilisation'
French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen blasted globalisation and Islamic fundamentalism in her closing speech on Sunday of a two-day National Front party conference, calling them "two totalitarianisms" threatening France.
To applause and cries of "On est chez nous" (We are in our land), Le Pen served up the grand themes of the party that have made her a leader in early polls of the spring presidential election.
"We are at a crossroad ... . This election is a choice of civilisation," she said, asking whether her three children and other young citizens would have the rights and culture of the current generation. "Will they even speak our French language?"
On Saturday, the party published Le Pen's 144 "commitments", a nationalist agenda that envisions a France unshackled from the European Union and NATO and that ensures work, health care and other services for its own citizens amid drastically reduced immigration.
She said she is defending both France's material and immaterial heritage, "which has no price". Echoing US President Donald Trump's "America First" pledge, Le Pen proposes amending the French Constitution to include the words "national preference".
Running on a campaign slogan of "In the Name of the People", Le Pen called out for French "patriots" on the left and right to join with her.
In politics, "the division is no longer right-left, (but) patriot-globalist," she said. "You have your place at our side."
The National Front has taken heart in the disarray of the left with the unpopularity of Socialist President Francois Hollande, who decided not to seek a new mandate.
The right's leading candidate, Francois Fillon, has been caught up in a corruption scandal, opening the way for maverick centrist Emmanuel Macron, who could face-off Le Pen. The chances for Macron, a rebel from the Socialist Party, were unclear.
Le Pen has been a leader in early polls, which place her at the top in the April 23 first-round vote, but not winning the May 7 run-off.
If elected, she envisions a "government of national unity" formed after June legislative elections.