Le Pen hails Trump’s courage

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France far right leader Marine LePen
France far right leader Marine Le Pen

France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen, has told the BBC that Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. has boosted her own chances of being elected president next year.

Le Pen, who leads the French National Front (FN), said Mr Trump had “made possible what had previously been presented as impossible”.

She is widely expected to reach the second round of the election in May.

Ms Le Pen also held up Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule as model of “reasoned protectionism”.

Her Eurosceptic, anti-immigration party took more than 27% of the vote in regional elections last December but did not get control of any region because mainstream parties worked together to defeat it.

Analysts expect other parties to again rally behind her opponent in the presidential ballot, if she does reach the run-off.

However, Mr Trump’s shock election on anti-immigration, protectionist platform and the UK’s referendum vote in June to leave the EU have rocked the political establishment on both sides of the Atlantic.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show in a pre-recorded interview, Ms Le Pen was asked if victory now looked likelier for her.

“Yes, I wish that in France also the people upend the table, the table around which the elite are dividing up what should go to the French people,” she said.

French voters would, she said, be offered the choice of a multicultural society “following the model of the English-speaking world, where fundamental Islam is progressing” and “an independent nation, with people able to control their own destiny”.

“I believe that every country has the right to defend its own interests,” she added.

She also called the EU an “oppressive model”, and said it would be replaced by a “Europe of free nations” which “many Europeans are yearning for”.

Asked about the potential threat posed by Russia since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and military intervention in Syria last year, she said there was “no reason to be scared”.

“Russia is a European country, and so we’d better, if we want a powerful Europe, negotiate with Russia,” she added.

She also praised that country’s “reasoned protectionism” under President Vladimir Putin, who she says is “looking after the interests of his own country, defending its identity”.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37964776

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