By Michaela Cabrera
| LILLE, France
LILLE, France The European Union will disappear, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told a rally on Sunday, aiming to re-enthuse core supporters in the final four weeks before voting gets underway. Buoyed by the unexpected election of Donald Trump in the United States and by Britain's vote to leave the EU, the leader of the anti-EU and anti-immigrant National Front (FN) party, told the rally in Lille that the French election would be the next step in what she called a global rebellion of the people."The European Union will die because the people do not want it anymore," Le Pen said to loud cheers and applause."The time has come to defeat globalists," she said, adding: "My message is one of emancipation, of liberation ... a call for all the patriots to gather behind our flag."
Opinion polls forecast that Le Pen will do well in the April 23 first round of the presidential election only to lose the May 7 run-off to centrist Emmanuel Macron. Its anti-EU, anti-euro stance is one of the FN's standard-bearing policies, both a mark of its anti-establishment stance that pleases grass-roots supporters and attracts voters angry with globalisation, and a likely obstacle to its quest for power in a country where a majority oppose a return to the franc.
Le Pen has over the past few months tried to accommodate this opposition to leaving the euro by continuing to criticise the unpopular EU while telling voters she would not abruptly pull France out of the bloc or the euro but instead hold a referendum after six months of renegotiating the terms of France's EU membership.On Sunday she told the rally she would seek to replace the EU by "another Europe," which she called "the Europe of the people," based on a loose cooperative of nations.
"It must be done in a rational, well-prepared way," she told Le Parisien in an interview published earlier on Sunday. "I don't want chaos. Within the negotiation calendar I want to carry out ... the euro would be the last step because I want to wait for the outcome of elections in Germany in the fall before renegotiating it."Reacting to Le Pen's comments on the death of the EU, France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, tweeted: "That'll be the real significance of the French elections: the survival or the demise of the EU. A quasi-referendum."Some 72 percent of French voters want to keep the euro, an Ifop poll published in Le Figaro newspaper showed. But unlike voters overall, a large majority of FN voters back a euro exit, the poll showed. (Additional reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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Published Date: Mar 26, 2017 11:00 pm | Updated Date: Mar 26, 2017 11:00 pm