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Marine Le Pen Hopes To Use The Brexit Debate To Push Her Own Agenda

Head of French far-right party Front National (FN) Marine Le Pen delivers a speech marking the launch of the 'Collectif des u
Head of French far-right party Front National (FN) Marine Le Pen delivers a speech marking the launch of the 'Collectif des usagers de la Sante' (Collective for Health services' users' in Paris on May 17, 2016. / AFP / PHILIPPE LOPEZ (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

PARIS -- Even though she has maintained a low profile in the media over the past few months, National Front leader Marine Le Pen has kept a watchful eye on the upcoming British referendum, which may result in the country's departure from the European Union. The far-right leader has refrained from campaigning, but she has often made clear her intentions to follow in London's footsteps and build a case for France to leave the EU.

She reiterated this vision on French TV channel TF1 on Tuesday night. Asked by Gilles Bouleau on the potential Brexit, Le Pen said: "Whatever the outcome [of the referendum], it still proves that the EU is failing, that it's showing cracks everywhere."

According to Le Pen, France is suffering in the EU, which she has described as a "totalitarian" institution. She told Bouleau on Tuesday that she believes that a similar referendum should be held in France. "It's been 11 years since the French were last asked [about the EU], and the last time they voted, their voices were betrayed by the Socialist Party and the Union for a Popular Movement," she said.

The National Front is convinced that the Brexit vote is proof of its longstanding argument that the European Union, in its present form, is doomed to disintegrate.

"I support Brexit with all my strength and all my heart, as a free French woman," she said last April.

It is no secret that the UK's potential departure from the EU would be of less impact than a French exit. But the National Front is convinced that the Brexit vote is proof of its longstanding argument that the European Union, in its present form, is doomed to disintegrate.

For starters, Brexit proves that it is possible to reverse the course of European integration. For Marine Le Pen, the British debate is a "strong sign" of the "will of the people." She believes that the public's will has the power to dismantle the EU -- which is regarded by the far-right as an anti-democratic regime built at the expense of sovereign nations.

"Either we sit here waiting for the flood, the explosion, or we gather around a table and build a Europe of Nations to replace the totalitarian EU as we know it today," Le Pen pleaded Tuesday night on TF1.

Le Pen also appreciates the Brexit referendum because of what it represents: British Prime Minister David Cameron backing Brussels into a corner. Marine Le Pen plans to make this approach her own -- and she believes that it will spread across the continent. "Every EU member should be able to have its say in a referendum," she told TF1.

"If I am elected president of the republic, I will commit myself, alongside the French, to organize, within six months, a referendum on the exit from the European Union," Le Pen has said. She hopes to negotiate a Euro exit with Brussels under the threat of outright withdrawal from all European institutions.

From Vienna, where she met with her European allies last week, Marine Le Pen denounced the "discourse of fear" used by European Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who both support keeping the UK in the EU. "What they fear is that the UK will recover its freedom, the freedom to trade with whomever they (the British) want," she said."We want all the people of Europe to have these freedoms."

That's one way for Marine Le Pen to reassure the French, who are increasingly hostile towards the European Union but who remain concerned about the economic consequences of a Frexit.

This post first appeared on HuffPost France. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.