If the upcoming French presidential elections were held today, the controversial far-right politician Marine Le Pen would take the lead. The head of the National Front party she inherited from her father, Le Pen has overtaken the other main candidates in a recent poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion. The two other main candidates are former President Nicolas Sarkozy, a moderate conservative, and current president François Hollande, a socialist. The FT has more:
Ms Le Pen scored 26 per cent in the poll, up from 24 per cent in the last sounding taken in April, while Mr Sarkozy, widely expected to announce a political comeback in September, slipped six points to 25 per cent. […]
The Ifop poll underlined growing fears on both the mainstream left and right that Ms Le Pen is set to repeat the feat of her father in 2002 when he reached the second round of the presidential election by coming second, knocking out the then socialist candidate Lionel Jospin.
These result may be the product of a process of elimination, given the current unpopularity of Le Pen’s rivals. Sarkozy and his party (the UMP) have been severely damaged by a financial scandal that brought Sarkozy himself under suspicion of corruption. Meanwhile, Hollande and his party have abysmal approval ratings in the wake of worsening economic and employment outlooks.
Still, whatever the cause, Le Pen’s showing in the presidential poll means that the far right is starting to do more than make some noise in the EU Parliament—they’re putting pressure on national governments as well.