French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has announced that she will step down as leader of her National Front (FN) party. Le Pen told TV channel France 2, "This evening I decided to take my leave of the presidency of the National Front. I will be above partisan considerations." Le Pen added that France is headed toward a "decisive moment.” Attempting to widen the range of her voters past the parameters of the National Front’s traditional constituencies, Le Pen announced on television, “Tonight, I am not the president of the National Front, I am the presidential candidate, the one who wants to gather all the French around a project of hope, of prosperity, of security.”
Le Pen also tweeted the news:
On Sunday, Le Pen won 7.6 million votes, the most ever for a National Front candidate. Positions taken by her party include drastically reducing immigration by implementing an immediate moratorium; “automatically” expelling illegal immigrants and cutting immigration to 10,000 per year; closing “extremist” mosques; stifling free trade; changing France’s relationship with the European Union; fixing retirement age at 60 and instituting a 35-hour work week.
Le Pen is facing a united front of foes across the political spectrum. France’s Prime Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, urged voters to vote for Emmanuel Macron, who slightly bested Le Pen and will be facing her in a two-person run-off:
Fox News contributor Nigel Farage, one of the leaders of the successful Brexit movement in Great Britain, tweeted:
On Monday, polls showed roughly 60 percent of voters would support Macron; less than 40 percent would vote for Le Pen. They are scheduled to debate on television on May 3.