N'DJAMENA, March 22 French far-right
presidential candidate Marine Le Pen pledged on Wednesday to
break with her country's decades-old relationship with Africa
known as "Francafrique" and abolish the CFA franc currency
policy that binds Paris and its former colonies.
Francafrique describes an informal web of relationships
Paris has maintained with its former African colonies and its
support, sometimes in the form of military backing, for
politicians who favour French business interests.
Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the presidential
election, spoke at the end of a two-day visit to Chad where she
sought to outline her policies regarding the continent, which
has long held an important place in French foreign policy.
"It was only in coming here and explaining that I am able to
get around the lies of my political adversaries who don't want
Africa to hear me," the National Front (FN) party candidate said
at a news conference in the capital N'Djamena.
"I've come to condemn the policy of Francafrique that
they've carried out. I have come to say I will break with this
policy," she said.
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy and incumbent Francois
Hollande also vowed to end the Francafrique policy, but both
kept France deeply involved in African politics and security
Le Pen, a nationalist and vocal critic of the European
Union, has spoken of her desire for France to abandon the euro
In N'Djamena, she also called for an end to the CFA franc, a
currency used in 14 west and central African nations, which is
tied to the euro at a fixed exchange rate - with the peg
guaranteed by the French Treasury.
"I understand the complaints of African states which
consider as a matter of principle that they must have their own
currency and that the CFA franc is a hindrance to their economic
development. I completely agree with this vision," she said.
In building the FN into a viable mainstream party, Le Pen
has worked to shake off the baggage of its historical
anti-semitism and deflect current accusations of racism and
And while she sought to highlight that French citizens of
African origin have the same rights and duties as any other
citizens, she maintained the hard line on immigration that has
solidified her support among many voters.
"Because France is sovereign, because it has its laws,
because everyone who enters a country must respect these laws,
foreigners living illegally in France will be sent home and
French borders will be restored," she said.
(Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by