Frexit: Could a Le Pen win begin France’s EU exit? Election puts Macron on back foot

Marine Le Pen blames Macron for dependency on Russian oil

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A longstanding EU critic, Ms Le Pen has u-turned on her open hatred of the bloc since losing the 2017 election – but all the hallmarks of a potential Frexit are still in the works and could materialise if she pulls off a win at the polling booth this month. While the French President has busied himself with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Ms Le Pen has made considerable and headway and is now closing the gap on her long-term adversary.

What’s more, the incumbent has seen a drop in support due to the fact many would be voters are not bothering to cast a ballot in the upcoming votes.

The news has clearly shaken the President, who finally hosted his first rally of the campaign at the end of March, with less than three weeks until the first polling day.

He said: “Look at Brexit and so many elections, what appeared impossible and that happened… nothing is impossible but I don’t want arrogance or defeatism. I want general mobilisation.”

Could Le Pen win?

A poll by Ipsos Sopra Steria Cevipof for Le Monde newspaper this week has showed Mr Macron would lead in the first round of votes on April 10, with 26.5 percent versus 21.5 percent for Ms Le Pen in second place.

Those figures compared to 28 percent for Mr Macron and 17.5 percent for Le Pen in a previous poll conducted March 21 to 24.

If neither candidate wins 50 percent of the vote in the first round, which is growing more likely, there will be a second round held on April 24.

The poll further indicated President Macron would then beat Ms Le Pen in the second round run-off vote on April 24 by 54 percent to 46 percent.

But the path to victory isn’t likely to be smooth for Mr Macron if he does secure a second term.

A new survey by Harris Interactive this week shows Ms Le Pen could fall just three percentage points behind in the President in the event of a second-round runoff.

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Could Marine Le Pen begin Frexit?

Marine Le Pen has long been distrustful of the EU, and has previously openly campaigned and promised a referendum on the subject should she ever come to power.

Even if she no longer talks about “Frexit” openly, she is not shy about bringing in policies that arguably lead to a Frexit by stealth from the European Union.

In particular, she talks about “fraud prevention”, which is accompanied by border controls.

She wants to hire 20,000 customs officers to control goods entering France from neighbouring countries, which could contravene the EU’s single market rules.

Ms Le Pen’s plans include a so-called “national preference” for hiring French workers over foreigners, exclusion of non-citizens from some social benefits and opting out of parts of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ms Le Pen also wants to withhold France’s payments to the EU budget, and questions the supremacy of EU law, among other things.

As we have seen with countries like Hungary and Poland in recent years, all these measures are incompatible with being a member of the EU, and would result in harsh retaliation from the bloc.

This could be a huge threat to Europe’s political stability and cohesion, affecting the economic outlook.

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