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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Anti-Muslim French Presidential Candidate Surge After Sex Charges for Ex-IMF Boss

The rape charges against former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn are headline news across the world, but as Strauss-Kahn prepares for what could be a lengthy legal battle, France is preparing for a 2012 presidential election -- suddenly without the leading challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Strauss-Kahn, a prominent member of the Socialist Party in France, was predicted to be his party’s candidate in 2012 and would have faced off against Sarkozy and his UMP party. Sarkozy, who has been floundering in polls, has been seen as a weak and ineffective president – a man who promised big change and has failed to deliver. But with Strauss-Kahn almost certainly out of the 2012 race, Sarkozy’s biggest challenge could come from Marine Le Pen, a candidate known for her nationalistic and anti-Muslim views.

Le Pen is the daughter of immigration foe and 2002 presidential runner-up Jean-Marie Le Pen. She has been gaining in the national polls and overall popularity. As voters in France prepare for a long year of presidential politics – could Le Pen’s candidacy also be a foreshadowing of what’s to come for the rest of Europe?

Jennifer Fredette of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy says Le Pen and her father’s views reflect a trend across the continent.

“It’s been going on for a while now. It’s all these critical little moments that get played up and people focus on them, like the burka ban, things that are visual and they spread,” Fredette told Fox News, referring to a controversial new French law that forbids women from going out in public with their faces covered. “You talk about it in France and then people in Germany say ‘oh we see that here. Is it the same here?’ There’s a trend of suspicion going on right now. Not just towards Islam and Muslims but immigration too.”

This item continues at Fox News