Marine Le Pen vows to hold referendum on leaving European Union if elected

March 3, 2017 10:05 pm

French extremist politician and presidential candidate speaks during a press conference in Paris, March 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says she will hold a national referendum on ’s potential exit from the () if she is elected in the upcoming election.
Speaking at a campaign rally on Thursday, the leader of the far-right Front National party said that the question was no longer whether France would leave the EU but “when and under which conditions” it will leave the bloc.
“Not all the French know it yet, but the truth will come to light in the coming month; the euro is just a dead man walking,” she said, referring to the European currency.
If elected president, Le Pen said she would “begin a total re-negotiation of all the European agreements in order to get back our monetary, legislative, territorial and economic sovereignty, followed by a referendum on Frexit,” a colloquial term referring to France’s exit from the EU.
“We will not be the first and nor will we be the last ones on this path,” she said.
The UK held a referendum on its exit from the EU back in June 2016. Almost 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU in that vote.

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron gives a speech in Paris, March 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The vote raised concerns of a domino effect among other EU members. Far-right parties in France, the Netherlands, and Italy at the time called for similar referendums in their countries.
Opinion polls show Le Pen would proceed to a runoff in the presidential election but will be easily beaten by independent candidate pro-EU Emmanuel Macron in the second round.
The first round of the presidential election is set to take place on April 23 and the second round is scheduled to be held in May.

French presidential candidate Francois Fillon speaks during a campaign rally in Nimes, southern France, March 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

In a separate development on Thursday, French police raided the house of presidential candidate François Fillon over a corruption scandal.
Fillon, the candidate for the right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party, is under investigation over allegations that he misused taxpayer-funds and paid his wife and children hundreds of thousands of euros for fake parliamentary jobs.
Police had last month raided his parliamentary office as well.
Fallon has described the allegations as “entirely calculated to stop me being a candidate for the presidential election” and has ruled out stepping aside for another candidate from his party.
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