The leader of France's far right Front National party has said a victory in next year's presidential elections would result in a group of global leaders – including US President-elect Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin – that "would be good for world peace."
France's main pollsters are tipping Marine Le Pen to qualify for the second round of the presidential election, before going on to lose in a run-off to the centre-right Republican candidate. However, an upbeat Le Pen expressed optimism in the wake of Trump's election, calling it a "sign of hope" and that it "made possible what was presented as completely impossible."
Moreover, Le Pen has been boosted by two major political upsets in 2016: Brexit and the US presidential election. As she inaugurated her campaign headquarters located less than a mile from the Elysee presidential palace, she remarked that the site is merely "a stopover on the way to [her] final destination down the road."
The 48-year-old told reporters: "There is a worldwide movement. A worldwide movement which rejects unchecked globalisation, destructive ultra-liberalism ... the elimination of nation states, the disappearance of borders."
She added: "The forces at work in these various elections are ideas, forces which could bring about my election as the president of France next May."
A prominent Eurosceptic, Le Pen has said she would hold a referendum on France's EU membership and reintroduce border checks with the country's neighbours. When asked if she could be next in line to undermine pollsters to win the presidency and join Trump and Putin as world leaders, Le Pen said: "That would be good for world peace."
"If I am president, France would have good relations with Russia," she added.
After clinching the White House, Trump and Putin spoke on the phone and agreed that US-Russia relations are "unsatisfactory" and vowed to improve them. However, the President-elect is facing growing pressure from Republican lawmakers over normalising relations with Russia.
Senator John McCain warned him against efforts to "reset" ties with Russia and lashed out at Putin as "a former KGB agent who has plunged his country into tyranny, murdered his political opponents, invaded his neighbors, threatened America's allies and attempted to undermine America's elections.''
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said: "[Trump] wants to reset with Russia. Maybe he can do it, but here's my view about Russia: They're a bad actor in the world, they need to be reined in."