Scarf ban canines Le Pen’s bid for the French presidency


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PARIS — Marine Le Pen’s proposal to ban the scarf in public locations is turning into a thorn in her marketing campaign as she makes an attempt to woo voters past her energy base.

If elected president of France, the hard-right chief needs to superb ladies sporting the scarf in public locations on the premise that it’s “Islamist” apparel. In France, non secular head coverings are banned in faculties and in public administrations within the identify of the nation’s secular traditions.

With the April 24 runoff between Le Pen and French President Emmanuel Macron anticipated to be tight, Le Pen has been downplaying her proposal in current days — whereas Macron has homed in on it.

The ban, Le Pen mentioned in a TV interview on Friday, shouldn’t be the “most pressing factor” of her marketing campaign, representing solely a small a part of her drive to fight the “totalitarian Islamist ideology.”

Conversely, Macron hammered the problem in a number of appearances this week.

“There’s dealing with me a far-right venture that desires to make France the primary nation on the earth to ban the scarf in public locations,” he mentioned in a radio interview Thursday, including that for him the veil “was not an obsession.”

The general public back-and-forth — and ensuing media scrutiny — has upset Le Pen’s long-term drive to detoxify her social gathering.

The Nationwide Rally chief has tried to pivot the social gathering to the mainstream, renaming it and firming down its anti-immigrant rhetoric. Polls present she has had some success and the French aren’t as scared as earlier than by the prospect of a Le Pen presidency. In subsequent Sunday’s runoff, POLITICO’s Poll of Polls predicts Macron will get 53 % of the vote to Le Pen’s 47 % — far greater than the 34 % she scored within the 2017 election towards Macron.


For extra polling information from throughout Europe go to POLITICO Poll of Polls.

Left up for grabs

Within the first spherical of voting on April 10, each left-wing candidate was knocked out, leaving each Le Pen and Macron scrambling to draw their voters. Backers of far-left chief Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who acquired 22 % of the vote, seem break up over backing Macron, Le Pen or abstaining.

However as Le Pen has tried to succeed in out to this cohort, she has been repeatedly questioned by journalists over her stance on the scarf ban, and the way she would implement it in a rustic that has 5.7 million residents of Muslim descent.

Pressed about it on French channel BFMTV, Le Pen caught to her weapons and mentioned it was “important” to ban the scarf as a result of it was “a uniform imposed by Islamists.”

“It’s been pressured on ladies as a result of those that don’t put on it are remoted, undergo pressures and typically are insulted,” she mentioned on Friday. “And I received’t tolerate this, all ladies in France should be capable of stay freely.”

Nevertheless it was in that very same interview that she additionally minimized the significance of the concept, given her grand ambitions to eradicate “totalitarian Islamist ideology.”

Le Pen has tried as an alternative to focus her marketing campaign on pensions and cost-of-living points, promising to decrease taxes on important foodstuffs and to chop revenue tax for younger adults.

Ammunition for Macron

Macron has grasped this tactic and is seizing on the scarf ban as a method of reminding voters of the Nationwide Rally’s previous.

Within the japanese metropolis of Strasbourg on Tuesday, Macron praised a lady who wore a scarf and requested him about feminism.

“Have you learnt what is gorgeous? … It’s assembly a younger girl who wears the veil and asks me whether or not I’m a feminist,” he mentioned.

“It’s one of the best reply to all of the garbage I’m listening to, as a result of reverse me, there’s Marine Le Pen who needs to ban the scarf,” he mentioned.

However Macron’s current feedback distinction along with his previous statements, elevating questions on whether or not he’s altering tack to draw new voters — notably Muslim voters — forward of the second spherical. In 2018, Macron mentioned that the scarf “made people feel insecure” and that he was “not notably completely satisfied” seeing ladies sporting it.

In accordance with a poll from Ifop, 69 % of French Muslims voted for Mélenchon within the first spherical. They’ll now be weighing their choices forward of the second spherical.

However extra usually, Macron is making an attempt to kill Le Pen’s efforts to denude the Nationwide Rally of its historical past, whereas Le Pen is making an attempt to attraction to left-wingers by portray her opponent as profit-driven and elitist.

Caught within the crossfire, many far-left voters say they wish to abstain. However as Le Pen and Macron pitch the second spherical of voting as a combat between two reverse visions of civilizations, the stress will improve on them to select.


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