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April 6, 2021 - Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s extreme right Rassemblement National party, is neck-and-neck in the polls with incumbent Emmanuel Macron ahead of the presidential vote in April 2022.
Macron is finding himself under increasing pressure as his closest election rival dubbed France’s Covid vaccine chaos his “Waterloo.” According to Johns Hopkins University, France has administered just 12.3 million doses of vaccine -- the UK has vaccinated 36.9 million people.
Le Pen said the French are now “suffering the consequences of these delays, his pride, and his inconsistent decision-making, with a heavy price on their daily lives.”
On Friday (April 2), Le Pen confirmed her departure as the Rassemblement National (RN) leader after the summer. She seeks to broaden her support ahead of the 2022 ballot. Le Pen had previously said she wanted to the “candidate of all French people.”
The 2022 election will mark Le Pen’s third bid in a row to become president of France. In 2012 she did not make it to the final round, but in the 2017 run-off, although Macron trounced her 33.9-66.1 per cent, she achieved almost 11 million votes. Macron is now forecast to win by as little as 53-47 per cent, according to a Harris Interactive-L’Opinion poll in March.
Le Pen, 51, was a member of the European Parliament from 2009 until 2017 and became the RN leader in 2011.
But today, Le Pen is making moves towards conservative respectability. She talks of protecting the environment, political unity, feminism and reforming rather than leaving the European Union and abandoning the euro.
Macron has yet to declare his candidacy for re-election.