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More from Politics
- Marine Le Pen, of the National Front, is ahead in the polls with 26.5 percent
- But in the second round of voting she is likely to be defeated by Francois Fillon
- In 2002 her father Jean-Marie was beaten by Jacques Chirac in second round
- Mr Fillon said today that France needs to introduce a form of immigration quotas
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Far-Right National Front, is ahead in the polls as France heads towards the first round of presidential elections in the spring.
Polls put her on 26.5 percent, ahead of Mr Fillon, a conservative former prime minister, who is on 25 percent.
But only two candidates make it into the second round of the presidential election in May and Ms Le Pen is expected to be defeated ultimately by Mr Fillon, with most Socialists expected to prefer him as the lesser of two evils.
In 2002 Ms Le Pen's father Jean-Marie, who founded the National Front, made it into the second round, pipping the Socialist Lionel Jospin, but was thrashed by 82 percent to 17 percent by conservative Jacques Chirac, who garnered support from many on the Left.
The ruling Socialists are set to choose their candidate later this month - Manuel Valls, who stepped down as prime minister last month is the frontrunner but is almost as unpopular as outgoing President Francois Hollande.
Emmanuel Macron, a former economy minister who is running as an independent, is currently estimated to get 17 percent of the vote in the first round.
The latest poll, by Ifop Fiducial for Paris Match, suggests Mr Fillon would beat Ms Le Pen by 64 percent to 36 percent in the second round.
But if Mr Macron made it to the runoff he would actually beat Mr Fillon by 52 percent to 48 percent.
Francois Fillon (pictured, right) is a former prime minister who is married to Welsh-born Penelope Clarke (left)
The poll, which had a margin of error of 1.3 percent, was conducted last week and was based on a sample of 1,860 people registered to vote.
Mr Fillon, who is battling it out with Ms Le Pen for right-wing votes, said today France needs to introduce immigration quotas, although it was not clear how he proposed to do this while remaining inside the European Union.
Before a visit to Menton, on the Italian border, Mr Fillon said: 'I want France to be able to decide every year the number of people it can accept on its territory.'
Mr Fillon is holding a rally tonight in Nice, where Tunisian-born ISIS sympathiser Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel (pictured, left) drove a lorry (right) into a crowd, killing 86 people
Mr Fillon is holding a rally in Nice, where 86 people were killed in July when a ISIS sympathiser drove a lorry into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.
He said he would urge the EU to tighten its asylum and immigration policy to counter threats from Islamist militants.
Mr Fillon, whose wife Penelope is British, also wants to deny social benefits to immigrants who have lived in France for less than two years.
The maverick: Emmanuel Macron (pictured, right, with Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel) is aiming to become the first independent to be elected France's President since 1920
Mr Fillon said this week he did not back an exit from the Schengen Area.
Ms Le Pen, borrowing from the successful campaign of Donald Trump, said yesterday she wanted French car companies to bring factories back to France and said they would face tariffs if they failed to do so.
She said: 'He is putting in place measures I have been demanding for years.'
Ms Le Pen said: 'I don't mind explaining to French companies that they cannot escape tax that they should be paying in France, that they cannot go offshore without suffering the consequences...A choice has to be made, a choice of patriotism.'
Both Renault and Peugeot have factories in Spain and eastern Europe, where they employ workers on lower wages, making parts for cars assembled in France.