French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned Thursday, November 17 that far-right leader Marine Le Pen had a chance of winning next year’s presidential election, boosted by the momentum of Donald Trump’s shock victory in the United States, AFP reports.
“It’s possible,” Valls said in response to a question at an economic conference in Berlin on whether the candidate of France’s anti-immigration National Front could win in light of the U.S. upset.
“All the opinion polls have the candidate Marine Le Pen making it to the second round” of France’s presidential race in May, the Socialist premier said.
“If she does make it to the second round, she will face either a candidate of the left or the right. This means that the balance of politics will change completely,” he added, warning of “the danger presented by the extreme right”.
There is growing concern in France that the same wave of populist, anti-globalisation anger that carried Trump to the White House and saw Britons vote to leave the EU could hand Le Pen the keys to the Elysee Palace.
“Of course there are risks in France, I am struck by the tone of the public debate,” Valls said, according to AFP.
But he stressed that there were differences between Trump and Le Pen, noting that the American billionaire was the candidate of a mainstream party even though his “speeches and proposals are worrying”.
Valls is suspected of having presidential ambitions himself but has yet to officially throw his hat in the ring to go up against his party’s deeply unpopular head of state Francois Hollande.