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Le Pen Says Eurosceptic Dupont-Aignan is her PM Pick | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Reuters photo

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Saturday she would appoint defeated first-round Eurosceptic candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan as her prime minister if she wins the May 7 runoff.

Right-winger Dupont-Aignan, who scored 4.7 percent of votes in the first round on April 23, announced on Friday that he was backing Le Pen, as widely expected.

“As President of the Republic I will name Nicolas Dupont-Aignan Prime Minister, supported by a presidential majority and united by the national interest,” she told a news conference in Paris at which the two politicians sat together.

“We will build a national unity government that will bring together people chosen for their skills and their love of France,” Le Pen said.

Dupont-Aignan said he had signed an agreement on the future government with Le Pen that took into account some “modifications” of her program.

Polls on Friday showed centrist Emmanuel Macron winning the French presidential runoff with 59-60 percent of votes, although Le Pen has gained some ground since the start of the week.

The candidates’ starkly differing visions on France’s future are at the heart of the election runoff — with Macron, a 39-year-old former banker embracing free trade and the EU, while Le Pen wants to seal France’s borders, quit the euro and hold a referendum on the nation’s membership in the bloc.

In the months leading up to the election, there had been a great deal of market uncertainty in the face of a possible win by Le Pen.

The national statistics office Insee said on Friday that economic growth in France slowed in the first quarter.

France’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.3 percent in the period from January to March, slower than the 0.5 percent recorded in the preceding three months, Insee said in a statement.