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Far right in France makes immigration the focus of the election campaign

Marine Le Pen's far-right French party Rassemblement National (RN) kicked off the campaign for June's European elections this Sunday (3), saying the vote will be a referendum on immigration.

Opinion polls show that the RN is expected to make big gains in the elections — some polls credit it with 28% to 30% support — and that it could pose a major challenge to France's main parties, including the French president's Renaissance, Emmanuel Macron.

“It is very clear that these June 9 elections are a referendum against being submerged by migrants,” said RN president Jordan Bardella, 28, who will lead RN in the elections, at the party's first campaign rally in the port city of Marseille, in the south of the country.

“It is up to the French people to decide who is allowed to enter the country and who is not. With us, France will protect its borders,” he told the crowd.

Bardella gave the closing speech of the meeting in front of a huge poster with the campaign slogan “France is back, Europe comes back to life”, while his supporters waved French flags and shouted “we will win” and “we are in House”.

As elsewhere in Europe, the French far right has benefited from the crisis in the cost of living, rising immigration, farmers' growing discontent with bureaucracy and high costs, and general resentment toward the political elite.

According to the statistics institute INSEE, the number of immigrants — people who live in France but were born abroad — was 5% in 1946, reaching 7.4% in 1975 and 8.5% in 2010, reaching just more than 10% in 2022. About a third of them became French.

Bardella and Le Pen, who gave the opening speech, attacked Macron during the meeting.

Le Pen said Macron, who recently received a hostile reception from farmers at the Paris trade fair, is a “beleaguered” president.

She also criticized Macron's recent comments that the deployment of European troops to Ukraine could not be ruled out, saying Macron “thinks he can find political salvation in a warlike stance that has surprised the French people.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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