Marine Le Pen promises to hold 'Frexit' referendum if elected President

France could follow Britain out of the EU after French MEP Marine Le Pen promised a similar referendum if she is elected President.

Marine Le Pen | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

05 Sep 2016


Le Pen said she plans to use the UK's June decision to leave the EU to her advantage, promising to hold a similar 'Frexit' referendum if elected.

Speaking at the weekend, the Front National deputy and French presidential candidate, said, "The British had the courage to choose independence despite all the prophets of doom."

Eurosceptism is on the rise throughout Europe, including in France, where Le Pen's Front National has consistently polled well in recent months.


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Le Pen's comments come as Angela Merkel's ruling CDU party was beaten into third place by an anti-immigrant and anti-Islam party in elections on Sunday in a north-eastern German state. The Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party took just under 21 per cent of the vote, behind the centre-left SPD's 30 per cent.

Alternative fuer Deutschland's anti-immigrant and increasingly strident anti-Islam message has had a powerful appeal to people concerned about integration and worried about domestic security. Observers say that following her political embarrassment, Merkel will now come under greater pressure to change her welcoming position on refugees.

The result is seen as a major blow to Merkel, and came as Le Pen formally launched her French presidency campaign by calling to fight an Islamist 'offensive' and take the country to the polls over EU membership if she is elected next spring.

At a rally, Le Pen focused on national sovereignty, immigration control, Islamism and what she called 'savage globalisation'.

The candidate for the April-May election pledged to back the "France of the forgotten, the abandoned and the voiceless."

Meanwhile, thousands of pro-Europe protesters took to the streets of London at the weekend calling for the UK to strengthen ties to Europe following the Brexit vote.

The March for Europe event was launched on the anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, to increase pressure on the UK government to delay formally invoking article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which would trigger a two-year deadline to withdrawal from the EU.

The march took place as UK Prime Minister Theresa May, attending the G20 summit in China, again repeated her mantra that "Brexit means Brexit", but that there were no plans to trigger article 50 until next year.

As May was ruling out the possibility of a second referendum on EU membership, simultaneous protests rallying support for keeping close economic, cultural and social links to Europe took place in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Oxford, and Cambridge.

 

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