Marine Le Pen still has a chance at winning the French presidential election according to a rival supporter as she storms ahead in the polls.
Christian Estrosi, the right-wing president of France’s southeastern region, believes Mrs Le Pen would exceed current poll data which predicts she will win the first round of voting with 25-27 per cent of the votes.
The former supporter of Nicholas Sarkozy is now supporting scandal-hit Francois Fillon, and said polls were “underestimating” Mrs Le Pen’s popularity.
He told Le Parisien: “Right now, all polls show that Mrs Le Pen would garner around 25 per cent of the vote in the first round of voting. But I think that she is going to win more than 30 per cent of the vote. She could win the election.
“The only way to beat Mrs Le Pen is to stop her from gaining any more ground. We need to attack her program and make French voters realise that they would be worse off if she is voted into power.”
Mr Estrosi said Mr Fillon had to “widen his support base” to garner the maximum number of votes.
The beleaguered right-winger saw his approval ratings plummet after he was accused in January of paying his British-born wife hundreds of thousands of euros for a ‘fake’ parliamentary job.
An Opinionway-Orpi poll of voting intentions for Les Echos and Radio Classique published on Monday shows that Mr Fillon – who has been placed under formal investigation on suspicion of embezzling public funds – would garner 18 per cent of the vote in the election’s first round, which will be held on April 23.
Mrs Le Pen, for her part, would garner 27 per cent, the poll shows. Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron would come in second place with 23 per cent, knocking the centre-right candidate out of the race.
A total of 1,593 French voters aged 18 and over were polled between March 17 and 19.
(Romina McGuinness contributed to this report “Marine Le Pen to win French election as she storms ahead in the polls: rival supporter”, edited to fit the page, added additional details and illustrations by Alad Von Dari via VOP)