Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, leader of the pro-sovereignty France Arise party (DLF) has said he will support Marine Le Pen.Mr. Dupont-Aignan announced his intentions to vote for Le Pen Friday evening on broadcaster France 2. “We signed a government agreement with an evolution of the programme, clarifications, and additions … I officially announce tonight that I will support Marine Le Pen and campaign with her on an expanded government project,” Dupont-Aignan told the channel RTL reports.
A meeting between Ms. Le Pen and the DLF leader occurred in private Friday afternoon as Le Pen sought the recommendation and endorsement of Mr. Dupont-Aignan going into the second round of the presidential race on 7 May. Until now, the DLF have rejected the Front National, and the endorsement could send shockwaves across the French political establishment.
The endorsement from Dupont-Aignan is not unusual as Le Pen supports many of the issues that he ran on in the first round of the presidential race including getting France out of the euro and being broadly against a European Union superstate.
Dupont-Aignan, who identifies himself with the legacy of World War Two hero and former French President Charles De Gaulle, obtained 1,695,186 votes in the first round or close to five per cent of all votes cast. The endorsement will likely further close the gap between Le Pen and her globalist rival Emmanuel Macron.
Nicolas Bay, the secretary general for the Front National, suggested there could be a possibility for Dupont-Aignan to become prime minister under a Le Pen presidency after endorsing her. Though the position of prime minister in France is largely ceremonial, the move would likely benefit the DLF in June’s legislative elections.
The endorsement is the largest name so far to support Le Pen in the second round of the elections and will likely carry the most weight in terms of votes. Dupont-Aignan will join Christine Boutin, founder and leader of the Christian Democratic Party, another first-round candidate, to have endorsed Le Pen. Many of the other candidates knocked out in the first round, except for far left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, have endorsed Macron.
Le Pen criticised the immediate endorsement of Macron by conservative Republican party candidate François Fillon who gave his support only five minutes after exit polls emerged. Le Pen called Fillon a “traitor” to his supporters for his actions. Despite his endorsement, Fillon admitted in February that if he were eliminated most of his supporters would flock to Le Pen.