Le Pen Supporters March In Paris As President Hollande’s Ratings Nosedive

Hundreds of Marine Le Pen supporters have taken to the streets of Paris for their traditional May Day march through the capital, headed by the leader of the far-right National Front herself.

The march takes place by the party every year on May 1 every year to honor the country’s warriors and patron saints, Joan of Arc.

This year, however, the procession is loaded with extra anticipation after the results of the first round France’s general election gave the far-right party 18% of votes.

While the percentage isn’t enough to give Le Pen a hope of winning the election, it has given her a “kingmaker” role, as the two leading candidates — Nicolas Sarkozy and President François Hollande — now attempt to pick up votes.

At a rally in front of Paris’ place de Opera, Ms. Le Pen told the thronging crowd that France had “shut itself away in the darkness of Europe” and that, “we have already won the battle of ideas.”

She also said the country was “sinking into an absurd policy of endless austerity … because it’s about always saying yes to Brussels, to Berlin of course, and to financial moguls in all circumstances.”

Conversely as Le Pen’s popularity has galvanized, Socialist government leader Hollande’s standing in France continues to plummet.

The Telegraph reports that a recent opinion poll by CSA for BFMTV, the result of which were released this week, participants said that if an election was called immediately, former president Nicolas Sarkozy would come first, Ms. Le Pen second, with President Hollande trailing in third.

According to political analysts, the government’s growing unpopularity comes from anger over France’s struggling economy and a recent scandal involving ex-budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, who has been charged with tax fraud for redirecting hundreds of thousands of euros into a hidden foreign bank account.

Significantly, since his election last May, President Hollande’s approval rating has fallen faster and further than any other president since the founding of France’s Fifth Republic in 1958.

While the result of the present election still hangs in the balance, the far-right party is hoping to add even more disillusioned ex-socialists to its ranks in local elections next year.

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