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French Election Results Should Send a Message to Islamists

French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Emanuel Macron
The French presidential race will come down to populist Marine Le Pen of the National Front and left-of-center Emanuel Macron of En Marche. Voters will go to the polls in a runoff election on May 7. (Reuters photo)

If anything, Sunday's election results in France should serve as a stern warning to Islamists, who have sought to subdue Europe either by force or by emigration: the continent's "tolerance" is running out.

Marine Le Pen, long considered a fringe politician of the far-right, another of the anti-European Union populists, took second in the first round of voting among the 11 candidates on the ballot. She now moves into a head-to-head runoff election against the favorite in the race, Emanuel Macron, a political centrist who wants to maintain the EU relationship and takes a much softer view on immigration policy.

Le Pen, however, has continued to gain momentum—particularly after last week's terror attack in Paris. She told supporters at a rally Sunday night:

"The choice now is between wild globalization, a world in which terrorists can travel freely, and a France with strong borders. It is time to free the French people from the arrogant elite. I am the candidate of the people. I call all patriots wherever they come from, whatever their origin, to join me. What's at stake is France's survival."

In a move that is probably reminiscent to last year's American presidential campaign, Le Pen and her National Front party are frequently likened to the Nazis of 1920s and '30s Germany. In fact, the candidates of all the major parties—even the conservative Republicans—have urged their supporters to back Macron.

Some in the media have attempted to paint the election as a surrogate battle between President Donald Trump, who is also a populist, and President Barack Obama, who publicly called to lend his support to Macron.

But the fact that a political party that has only ever qualified for the second round of the French presidential election is now polling with the support of nearly 40 percent of voters, and the alternative candidate is a centrist who is running his own independent campaign and was largely a political unknown until three years ago means the establishment has been rocked again. The people of Europe are demanding change, particularly when it comes to their own national security.

France is a linchpin, in many ways, for Europe. Islamists have, for decades, used its quirky immigration rules whereby a citizen from any former French colony or territory may immediately apply for French citizenship as a means to quickly infiltrate European culture. It also remains one of the most influential members of European Union—and will gain even more stature once Brexit is complete.

The runoff election between Le Pen and Macron will be held May 7.

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