Le Pen rallies supporters for French presidential launch

Le Pen, who leads the National Front (FN), on Saturday published a list of 144 "commitments" built around putting France first, reclaiming sovereignty from the European Union.

Le Pen rallies supporters for French presidential launch

World Bulletin / News Desk

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen gives a major speech Sunday to formally launch her presidential bid with a programme featuring many of the themes that propelled Donald Trump to the White House.

The 48-year-old is convinced that Trump and the Brexit vote in Britain point to the return of nationalism, while recent domestic events in France's unpredictable election race could also help her.

"People are waking up. They see Brexit, they see Trump and they're saying to themselves: 'It's worth going to vote'," her party's influential deputy leader Florian Philippot said on Sunday ahead of Le Pen's speech in the east-central city of Lyon.

The French presidential race has been jolted after long-time conservative frontrunner Francois Fillon became embroiled in revelations his wife drew hundreds of thousands of euros in salary as his parliamentary assistant amid suspicions she never actually worked.

And an incident at the Louvre museum on Friday, where a man with two machetes was shot after attacking a group of soldiers, has shifted the focus onto Le Pen's preferred subjects of security, Islam and immigration.

Polls have shown for months that she will win enough votes on April 23 to reach the second round runoff on May 7, but they also currently show that a mainstream candidate will beat her at that stage.

"French people on the whole share our vision of the country, the themes which are ours: the patriotism on which our project is built, and then the defence of our civilisation," she said on Saturday.

France was "undoubtedly at a crossroads where tomorrow we might not recognise our country any more", she said.

She will address supporters at 1400 GMT in the city where she once compared the sight of Muslims praying in the street to the Nazi occupation.

Sources in her party say up to 10,000 people are expected, although the room was only half full on the first day of the rally on Saturday.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Şubat 2017, 15:15