French far-right leader Marine Le Pen kicked off her presidential campaign on Saturday with a promise to shield voters from globalization and make their country "free", hoping to profit from political turmoil to score a Donald Trump-style upset.
Opinion polls see the 48-year old daughter of National Front (FN) founder Jean-Marie Le Pen topping the first round on April 23 but then losing the May 7 run-off to a mainstream candidate.
But in the most unpredictable election race France has known in decades, the FN hopes the scandal hitting conservative candidate Francois Fillon and the rise of populism across the West will help convince voters to back Le Pen.
"We were told Donald Trump would never win in the United States against the media, against the establishment, but he won... We were told Marine Le Pen would not win the presidential election, but on May 7 she will win!" Jean-Lin Lacapelle, a top FN official, told several hundred party officials and members.
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