On a night marred by insults, one stood out. “France will be led by a woman, either me or Mrs Merkel,” Marine Le Pen said of her opponent, Emmanuel Macron, during a two-hour grudge match on French television as the presidential campaign entered its closing days.
It was a deft jibe, emasculating Macron, and at the same time playing into her supporters’ fears of a France crushed by a German-dominated Europe.
It would have resonated in Brussels, too, where the prospect of a Le Pen presidency brings eurocrats out in cold sweats. During the campaign, Le Pen has railed against an imperious EU, suggested France would leave the euro, and promised to hold a referendum on France’s continued membership of the bloc.
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