As French voters head to the polls Sunday to choose far-right leader Marine Le Pen or centrist Emmanuel Macron as their president, Le Pen opponents are pleading with their compatriots not to pick a candidate similar to U.S. President Donald Trump.
The anti-Le Pen catchphrase making the rounds in the country is “ne vous Trumpez pas” ― a play on the French phrase “ne vous trompez pas,” meaning “make no mistake.” Ads featuring the phrase and an image of Trump’s face with Le Pen’s hairdo have appeared on the streets of France.
A video released earlier this month compared Le Pen and Trump, and also underscored faulty assumptions in the U.S. that Trump would not win the election. The video, paid for by a “Jamais Marine” (“Never Marine”) campaign, contrasts comments by former U.S. President Barack Obama saying that he doesn’t believe Trump will win with French officials saying the same about Le Pen. A smirking Le Pen says in the video: “Never Brexit, never Donald Trump.”
Trump has expressed support for Le Pen, telling The Associated Press in April that she’s the “strongest on borders and the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”
Another similarity between the French and American races is an email hack before the election that left the conservative candidate untouched. The Macron campaign revealed Friday that a “massive and coordinated” hack dumped campaign and party emails online, but claimed that there were also fake messages among the documents.
Authorities haven’t determined who is responsible, but the French election commission is investigating. French officials have warned the media not to share leaked information or details about the hack. France has a two-day media blackout on elections before a vote.
The world is watching to see if the French will signal another rightward turn in Europe in the wake of Britain’s Brexit vote, as Le Pen has vowed to withdraw from the European Union if she wins. Several polls have put Macron in the lead with voters by as much as 24 points.