French premier says far-right leader Le Pen could win 2017 presidential race



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PARIS — France's prime minister has raised the possibility that far-right leader Marine Le Pen could win the 2017 presidential election.

Manuel Valls said on Sunday that he fears for his country.

In an interview with iTele TV, Valls said Le Pen's National Front "is at the doors of power" and she could become president.

Valls spoke ahead of March 22 local elections in which his Socialist Party risks major losses. The Socialists and mainstream right have voiced fears Le Pen's party could steal their votes, but Valls' remarks were the bluntest by a top official.

The National Front has chalked up electoral victories and Le Pen is soaring in polls.

The party's No. 2 Florian Philippot said on French radio channel France-Info the elections have thrown Valls "into a panic."

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