On Saturday, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen announced that if elected she would name fellow Euroskeptic and former rival Nicolas Dupont-Aignan as prime minister.
“We will form a government of national unity that bring together people chosen for their competence and their love of France,” said Le Pen.
Dupont-Aignan is a member of France’s right-wing “Stand Up, France” party. His presidential campaign, which included scrapping the EU and fighting terrorism, won just 4.7% of the vote.
Dupont-Aignan formally endorsed Le Pen last Friday. He shares her distrust of globalization and support for hardline security. On Saturday, he said that he does not consider Le Pen an extreme right candidate.
Le Pen calls Dupont-Aignan a “patriot” and no doubt hopes the alliance will broaden her support as she prepares to face off against centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron on May 7th. She says the two will present a “common project” to help “claim the patriotic and republican victory that our country needs.”
The alliance marks the first time the National Front has teamed up with another political party, let alone a mainstream one. It has led to “modifications” in Le Pen’s platform; for example, a less systematic use of import taxes.
The alliance also seems to increase the chances of a “Frexit” referendum, but the two politicians have stated that leaving the EU is not a “prerequisite to all economic policy.”
French President Francois Hollande calls the upcoming run-off a “European choice.”
“The choice that is being presented on Sunday, May 7th is to know if the French – not only globally, but individually – have to fear an exit from the European Union. They have everything to gain from remaining in the European Union.”
Polls still favor Macron to win the election on May 7th, but Le Pen’s decision to enlist Dupont-Aignan brings up to 2 million additional voters to her side.