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France: National Front of Marie Le Pen moves ahead in French polls before weekend elections - by Elaine Ganley

Discontented Socialists, frustrated conservatives and an eclectic array of others – from gays to political renegades – could be among those casting ballots for France’s far-right National Front in local voting this weekend, elections that promise to solidify leader Marine Le Pen’s position as one of the country’s leading political figures.

Ms. Le Pen has been the single most visible presence in weeks of campaigning on city streets and in rural villages with a relentless message to voters fed up with traditional parties: We care about you, they don’t.

For Ms. Le Pen, Sunday’s election for more than 2,000 local councils is an important step in building a grassroots base critical to her ultimate goal: the 2017 presidency.

“This is the big straight line to 2017,” she said in a speech early this month in Paris. “There is no minor election, no minor vote.”

Read more: National Front moves ahead in French polls before weekend elections - The Globe and Mail

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