Le Pen has first meeting with head of state on Lebanon visit
Written by Malek


French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen arrived in Lebanon on Sunday evening for a two-day visit during which she was to have her first official meeting with a foreign head of state, President Michel Aoun. She was also set to meet Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Le Pen's meeting with Aoun will be the first time she has been officially received by a foreign leader since taking over the party leadership from her father, Jean-Marie, in 2011.

Her National Front (FN) party hopes it will show she is taken seriously abroad, following a number of disappointments in that field. The Lebanese leaders have already met centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and would have met mainstream right presidential candidate Fran├žois Fillon had he not cancelled his visit because of the Penelopegate scandal.

Le Pen's visit, confirmed to Reuters by a member of her
entourage, will come nine weeks from a French election in which
she is among the leading candidates competing with conservative
Francois Fillon for the presidency.
    A spokeswoman for Hariri said a meeting would take place on
Monday. The Le Pen official said she would also meet Aoun.
Sources in Aoun's office confirmed the meeting, set for Monday.
    Sunni Muslim Hariri lived in exile in France for a time
until his return to Lebanon in 2014 and his family has close
links to conservative former French President Jacques Chirac.