France’s Marine Le Pen Is Coming To Lebanon

A Lebanese government source has confirmed that the French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will be visiting Lebanon next week to talk with leaders. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the government source told AFP that “Madame Le Pen will be in Beirut on the 19th and 20th, and will meet President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday.” In the latest polls, Marine Le Pen, who heads the far-right National Front (FN) party, is leading with 27 percent in the first round. The election is set to take place in April. Le Pen has vowed to put “France first” and to fight terrorism. She has even called for dialogue with the Syrian President, Bashar Assad. Le Pen in an interview last month said Syrians were “waiting for… Assad to win this war against Islamist fundamentalists.” The former economy minister of France, Emmanuel Macron, is also running for president. He visited Beirut on January 24th, where he met Aoun and Hariri. It is customary for the French presidential candidates to visit Lebanon. Another candidate, Francois Fillon, cancelled a visit early this month to Lebanon and Iraq. He is dealing with revelations that his wife Penelope was paid for years for a suspected fake job as a parliamentary aide. Francois Fillon and his British wife, Penelope, are expected to face charges or further legal proceedings over the financial scandal. He was considered the frontrunner but his campaign has been crippled by the allegations that his wife was paid more than €800,000 (around $850,000 in US Dollars) for a fake job as his parliamentary aide. Mr Fillon has apologised for employing his wife and two children, who were allegedly paid €84,000 ($90,000 USD) for working as his assistants while they were students, but denied any wrong-doing. The French presidential election is going to be as interesting to watch as the Trump-Clinton election in the US – if not more. Both ridden with allegations and accusations of corruption and racism.