NANTERRE, France – Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate for the French
presidential election, accused rival President Nicolas Sarkozy of having sent “a
simple message” when some Islamists were arrested on French territory, after
French forces assaulted Mohamed Merah’s house last month.
Algerian born in France who was killed after the 30-hour standoff outside his
home, murdered seven people in three separate terror attacks last month,
including a rabbi and three Jewish children.
Le Pen was speaking at a
press conference with foreign journalists in her campaign headquarters at
Nanterre, west of Paris. She lamented to representatives of newspapers from
around the world that “we no longer speak at all of the crisis, [but] of
“We are climbing the same stairs as Greece, Portugal
and Spain; it is just that we have not yet reached the same level... The domino
effect is at our door... The Spanish and the French people will not accept to
live the way the Greek people are living, to pay the financial market
Responding to a question from The Jerusalem Post, following
the surprising absence of mentions in electoral debates of the shootings in the
southern French town of Toulouse, Le Pen criticized Sarkozy, calling his
crackdown on Islamists “merely electoral agitation after the Merah
“A few arrested Islamists and that is all... [Sarkozy] is not
dealing with the real problem of fundamentalism, although he has been in charge
of national security for the past 10 years.”
Before being elected
president in May 2007, Sarkozy was interior minister, responsible for internal
security matters and police. His credentials as “Mr. Security” were decisive in
the preference of French voters for him over Segolene Royal, the Socialist
candidate, who was considered more lax in her attitude to it.
For Le Pen,
Sarkozy, like his predecessors, “deliberately downplayed the threat from
Islamists who want to see France as we know it disappear in favor of
Going further, she accused her main rival for the voice of the
right wing to have even “opened the door to the UOIF (militant Muslim
organization in France) who called for the murder of Jews.”
the first steps to the ladder for the fundamentalists in France and
internationally,” she said.
The extreme-right wing candidate also
deplored the European intervention in Libya last year, at the initiative of
France, which helped dethrone former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
we gave the power to jihadists who have established Shari’a law within a few
hours,” she said.
“A convinced euroskeptic,” and “sworn enemy of the euro
as a single currency,” Le Pen criticized Sarkozy as one of those “those who sell
us the idea that the euro zone would be a doublelocked prison with no
If elected, Le Pen said she plans to close the door of her country
not only to globalization but also – and especially – to mass
“I will cancel the regularization of illegal immigrants and
I will reduce the number of visas to 10,000 a year to accommodate artists,
sportsmen and research talent, instead of the 203,000 allocated each year,” she
According to recent polls, Le Pen is in third place with 15 percent
after Sarkozy and Socialist candidate François Hollande, who are still
neck-and-neck with around 30 percent. Le Pen is just about tied with Communist
Jean-Luc Mélenchon but ahead of centrist François Bayrou.
campaign officially began on Monday evening after the Easter holiday, with the
same time allotted for each candidate’s advertisements on television and radio
spots. The same rule is observed by all television studios and radio