France's Le Pen hits campaign trail

National Front leader says he will be the president of ordinary men and women.

    Le Pen, right, said he would impose strict immigration controls and cut welfare to foreigners [AFP]

    He reiterated criticism of the EU and globalisation and he denounced global financial speculators as "sharks" who were in league with Russian and French oligarchs.
     
    "To those of you who work for peanuts, I say let us take back power and relive the pleasure of being French," he said.
     
    Le Pen held his rally in the northern town of Lille, where he won most votes in 2002.
     
    Opinion polls
     
    But Le Pen is trailing the leading candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy, the current interior minister, and Segolene Royal, the Socialist leader, in opinion polls.
     
    Le Pen also trails Francois Bayrou, an alternative candidate who has seen the biggest surge in his ratings.
     
    A poll for Journal du Dimanche, a French Sunday newspaper, suggested 11.5 per cent of voters planned to vote for Le Pen in the first stage of the two-round election, lagging Bayrou on 17 per cent and Royal and Sarkozy who are both on 28 per cent.
     
    Le Pen reeled off a list of things that were wrong with France from the economy to the role of families and promised a "parental wage" for people bringing up the next generation.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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