Le Pen Surges in Presidential Polls As Centre-Right Candidate Plummets

Le Pen Surges in Presidential Polls As Centre-Right Candidate Plummets

Populist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has surged in recent polling, while centre-right Les Républicains candidate Valérie Pécresse has slumped amid serious allegations of voting irregularities within her party.

Polls released this week have seen National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen surge into a comfortable second place in the French presidential race, well ahead of her main rivals, Valérie Pécresse and conservative pundit and writer Eric Zemmour.

A Harris Interactive poll released on Wednesday put Le Pen at 17 per cent, behind current President Emmanuel Macron who scored 24 per cent in the polling for the first round of the French presidential elections.

The poll saw Zemmour in third place with 15.5 per cent and Ms Pécresse in fourth with 13.5 per cent. A similar result was seen in an Elabe poll, which put Le Pen at 18 per cent, Zemmour at 13.5 per cent and Pécresse at just 11.5 per cent.

The surge for Le Pen comes as previous polls released earlier this month had put her and Ms Pécresse neck-and-neck for second place and the ability to face off in the second round against President Macron.

Le Pen Suspends Presidential Campaigning Over Lack of Official Sponsorshipshttps://t.co/Y2VnPCGP6J

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 23, 2022

Despite the gains in the polls, Le Pen has experienced some difficulties in her campaign in recent days and paused her campaign on Tuesday due to a lack of official endorsements needed to run for the French presidency. Under the French system — which is designed to exclude candidates outside of the mainstream — would-be presidential hopefuls need to gain the endorsements of hundreds of government officials to make their candidacy valid.

Valérie Pécresse, meanwhile, is facing her own difficulties after a report from the newspaper Libération claimed to have discovered serious irregularities in the primary vote that declared her the candidate for Les Républicains (LR), including allegations that dead people and a dog named Douglas were allowed to vote.

Officially, only members of LR who paid the party a 30 euro fee were allowed to vote in the primary but the investigation into the vote has claimed that a woman who died in 2019 appeared on the voter roll.

The controversy was quickly labelled “Douglasgate” on social media, after the alleged dog, said to reside in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. According to the magazine Marianne, the dog’s owner, who did not want to be named, voted in place of the dog and registered him as a test “to see if it was feasible.”

Les Républicains have denied the allegations, stating, “Several members of Les Républicains bear this name. The one quoted by Libération could not take part in the vote because he did not meet the criteria requested.”

The denial did not stop Eric Zemmour from lambasting Pécresse over the allegations, putting out a press release claiming supporters could register their pets as members of his party Reconquest! but assured supporters that the animals would not be allowed to vote.

Reconquête! est le premier parti qui autorise l’inscription de vos animaux de compagnie !

NB : vous pouvez les inscrire mais ils ne pourront pas voter.#douglasgate#LesAnimauxAvecZemmourhttps://t.co/hluOVJuMoa

— Eric Zemmour (@ZemmourEric) February 23, 2022

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com.

Chris Tomlinson