Marine Le Pen was egged by protesters as she arrived at a campaign stop during her cross-country tour of France to drum up support for her presidential bid. She had just arrived at Dol-de-Bretagne, Brittany and was being escorted in by her bodyguards when approximately 50 protesters launched several eggs at her entourage. Later in the day, she was booed by other protesters in Reims, France.
Le Pen, the candidate for the right-wing Front National, is the more controversial and polemic candidate since she is decidedly anti-European Union and is for strict limits on immigration into France.
It doesn’t appear Marine Le Pen was hit by any of the eggs, but the thrown eggs followed other campaign stops where Marine was booed by mostly young student protesters. While popular among older voters, Le Pen doesn’t have the same support from the younger voters of France.
The egging comes on the heels of a fiery televised debate Marine Le Pen had with her more moderate opponent, Emmanuel Macron, that aired earlier this week. According to two post-debate polls, most viewers believe she lost the debate. Additionally, polls are showing she is behind Macron by as much as 20 points.
However, as was seen in the presidential election of the United States, surveys can miss the intentions of voters, even when the election is just days away. Le Pen and her Front National have always had a strong following in the south of France, but until this year, they were never viewed as contenders on the national level.
However, France has been subject to an unprecedented number of terrorist attacks that have left close to 300 people dead around the country. Many of the attacks were carried out by immigrants or French citizens whose families had immigrated from foreign countries. As a result, Front National, a far-right political party has gained strong support from other regions of the country.
Front National was founded by the father of Marine Le Pen, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and takes a very hardline approach on several issues.
The party is against free migration across French borders, opposes French membership in the European Union, and believes in stricter enforcement of the country’s laws and punishment of criminals. These stances have gathered support from voters in other regions in France, and the fact that Le Pen is one of the final contenders for the office is shocking to many.
Le Pen’s opponent Macron describes himself as a non-conformist, and it shows in his politics. He describes himself as a pro-business leftist looking to save France from the out-of-touch political elite.
Macron has never held a political office before, and he does not come from a politically connected family. He denied being a socialist but was a member of the party when he was in his 20’s.
Macron is a former investment banker and has deep ties in the corporate world. His stance on several issues has placed him at odds with many in France.
He said he would like to cut the French corporate tax from 33 percent to 25 percent. He wants French companies to have the right to negotiate with their employees for longer work weeks. Right now, a work week is defined as 35 hours.
He would also like to merge some public sector retirement programs with public sector corporations. He has also said he would like to see more tax breaks for companies.
Macron also believes in improving law enforcement, calling for the addition of 10,000 more police and 15,000 more cells for prisoners. He also believes in fines for drug users and legal injunctions against gang members.
The final round of elections will be on May 7, and then there are legislative elections later in the year.
[Featured Image by Michel Spingler/ AP Images]