In Brief

Marine Le Pen launches French presidency bid: What is she promising?

Far-right candidate attacks radical Islam and globalisation during campaign rally in Lyon

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, launched her campaign for the French presidency with attacks on radical Islam and globalisation.

During a rally with supporters in Lyon, Le Pen also vowed to renegotiate France's position within the European Union, saying she will call a referendum on membership of the EU if those negotiations fail.

"What is at stake in this election is the continuity of France as a free nation, our existence as a people," she said. 

Le Pen's campaign promises indicate that she 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", The Local reports.

Her campaign launch comes amid one of the most unpredictable elections in decades for France. The race has been "thrown wide open" by allegations the leading centre-right candidate Francois Fillon "paid his wife and children close to €1m [£860,000] of public money for parliamentary assistance jobs that investigators suspect she did not do", reports The Guardian.

While the election had been seen as a two-horse race between Le Pen and Fillon, the latter's expenses scandal has boosted the chances of 39-year-old independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.

Le Pen is tipped to "win the first round of the presidential contest", says the BBC, but will struggle in the second round run-offs because "her rivals have always managed to attract votes from other parties; Marine Le Pen has not".

Even one of Le Pen's advisers conceded to The Local: "On paper, Macron has the strongest chance of winning."

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