Front National candidate Marine Le Pen announced Saturday that she would name a Eurosceptic from outside her National Front party as prime minister if she captures France's presidency in the May 7 run-off.
In a bruising contest against pro-EU leftist and former banker Emmanuel Macron, Le Pen is hoping to broaden her base enough to win the decisive second-round vote, despite an establishment alliance backing Macron.
The anti-mass immigration Le Pen told reporters that she and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan shared a "common project that we will promote together".
"We will build a national unity government that will bring together people chosen for their skills and their love of France," said Le Pen, who has promised a French referendum on exiting the European Union.
Dupont-Aignan heads the nationalist Debout la France (France Stand Up) party and, like Le Pen, has said he favors ditching the Euro.
"It's a historic day because we are putting France before personal and partisan interests," said Dupont-Aignan, whose party does not have the same notoriety as the National Front's.
His backing for Le Pen sparked the resignation of two Debout la France officials and drew some protesters to the town hall in Yerres, in the Paris region, where he is mayor.
Meanwhile, Macron was aiming to draw voters from rural France with his globalist message and claimed that the Le Pen-Dupont-Aignan alliance was a "scam".
Le Pen has attempted to woo new voters on either side of the political divide, telling leftists their real enemy is the free-marketeer ex-banker, and conservatives that Macron would continue the policies of the unpopular outgoing Socialists and be soft on terrorism.
Macron has indeed said that terrorism is an "imponderable problem" that will be "part of our daily lives for the years to come", which has not sat well with Conservative François Fillon voters. Fillon, who achieved just under 20 percent in the first round, had vowed to take very hard measures against terrorism and bolster security significantly.
In a video message Friday, she urged the also near 20 percent of voters who backed the Eurosceptic, near-Communist Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round to "block" Macron, saying his pro-globalist program was "diametrically opposed" to leftist working class ideals.
"Let's put our quarrels and divergences to one side," she said in the message, calling Macron the choice of the "oligarchy".
"He calls himself a patriot. He is the arsonist who wants to pretend to be a firefighter […] there is a plan to dilute our country, the values of its landmarks, its social justice, its unity. His project is globalist, oligarchic, pro-mass immigration, individualistic, and ultra-Europeanist."
Mélenchon has refused to explicitly endorse the liberal Macron, breaking with France's "republican front" tradition of the big parties coming together to halt the FN.
An Odoxa poll Friday showed that 40 percent of Melenchon's supporters would back Macron, 41 percent would abstain and 19 percent would vote for Le Pen.
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