France has to remain France

By Adrian Croft and Marine Pennetier

France’s ambassador to Japan has pledged not to serve under far-right leader Marine Le Pen if she becomes president, saying her policies are at odds with French principles.

Thierry Dana, writing in Le Monde newspaper, became the first high-ranking French diplomat to state publicly that he would step down rather than work for Le Pen if she were to win presidential elections held over two rounds in April and May.

“If the pieces of the French tragedy which are being put in place were to lead to her election, I would stand aside from any diplomatic role,” Dana said.

“I couldn’t loyally defend your positions, which run counter to all the principles championed by France when it is great in the world,” he wrote.

Buoyed by the election of President Donald Trump in the United States and by Britons’ vote to leave the European Union, Le Pen’s anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front hopes for similar populist momentum in the French election.

Outgoing President Francois Hollande also warned ministers at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday about the threat posed by the extreme right, especially to France’s role in the European Union, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said.

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