Marine Le Pen ‘angry’ at Pope Francis

What happened?

Marine Le Pen has criticised Pope Francis ahead of the first round of the French presidential elections. Le Pen, who leads the Front National (FN), said she was “angry” about the Pope’s call for states to welcome more migrants, and that bishops were “meddling” in politics by raising similar concerns. Voting begins on Sunday. Le Pen is neck-and-neck with three candidates: Catholic free-marketeer François Fillon, socialist firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, and liberal Emmanuel Macron.

What the media are saying

The Economist said that the national mood seemed to favour “insurgent” candidates – especially Le Pen and the “Communist-backed” Melenchon, who wants to remove France from Nato and raise the top rate of income tax to 100 per cent.

“Until recently, the odds were clearly on a run-off between Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron.” But the polls have narrowed, and nothing can be ruled out.

David Andelman at argued that the contest had “truly frightening similarities” to last year’s US election. As in America, “it certainly seems the most motivated voters right now are those likely to support the extremes.” And Le Pen’s chances, like Trump’s, have survived “every scandal or misplaced idea that should torpedo a serious candidate”.

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