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France's Le Pen picks would-be prime minister


France

France's Le Pen picks would-be prime minister

French far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen said on Saturday she would appoint nationalist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan as her prime minister, in a bid to attract more voters and defeat her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron.

Dupont-Aignan, a Eurosceptic and former rival of of Le Pen, scored 4.7 percent of votes in the first round on April 23.

While he also wants protectionist policies, he got Le Pen to tweak her programme. Now their so-called patriotic alliance states there’s no rush to leave the eurozone, while schools should remain free for foreign children, too.

The move could bring Le Pen a bigger pool of voters as she challenges centrist frontrunner Emmanuel Macron in the May 7 runoff.

Macron was campaigning in central France when he heard the news. He said voters now had a clear choice between an anti-European project, and his own, more “progressive” views.

“The question is not whether Mr. X or Y is going to be prime minister, what matters is her project. That’s what a presidential election is all about – a project that’s brought before the people. Madame Le Pen’s project is a dangerous one for the country because it’s about closing borders, and ultimately shrinking,” Macron said.

The latest polls show Macron easily winning the election with around 60 percent of votes. However, surveys suggest Le Pen has gained ground this week, while many leftist voters threaten to abstain.