Le Pen’s claim to leading Macron opposition faces tough test

Paris, May 11 (EFE).- Marine Le Pen is styling herself as the torchbearer of political opposition to Emmanuel Macron in France but polling suggests her far-right force could finish behind a new leftist coalition in the parliamentary elections next month.

Both Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, the president of her National Rally (RN) party, formerly known as the National Front, on Wednesday took aim at the New People’s Ecologist and Social Union (NUPES) coalition led by France’s most prominent left-wing figure Jean-Luc Mélenchon, which looks set to become the far-right’s main rival in the vote on June 12 and 19.

Bardella, speaking at the unveiling of RN’s 569 candidates for the National Assembly elections, downplayed the prospect of the NUPES overtaking the far-right formation, insisting that Le Pen would remain the “de facto” head of the opposition.

Le Pen faced off against Macron in the second round of the presidential election last month. Mélenchon, whose France Insoumise party has the backing of green parties, socialists and communists ahead of the next vote, was the third-most popular candidate in the first round of the presidential poll.

As if it was not clear enough, RN’s campaign slogan this year is “the only opposition to Macron.”

Le Pen repeated this during a radio interview with RTL in which she described Mélenchon’s decision to harness a coalition as a “political scam.”

Polling institutes, however, paint a worrying picture for Le Pen.

Surveys carried out on May 5 and 9, published by Les Echos, suggested Macron’s parliamentary party LREM would snap up 310 to 350 seats in parliament — which hovers around a majority — followed by Mélenchon’s NUPES with between 135 to 165 and then the conservative bloc with 50 to 70 seats.

Le Pen’s RN, which only has seven lawmakers in the lower chamber currently, would have to settle for 20 to 40 seats.

Despite this outlook, Le Pen and her party have so far refused to join hands with fellow far-right personality Éric Zemmour, who in the presidential elections floundered with just 7% of the vote.

“I don’t want to betray my voters,” Le Pen said. EFE


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