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Even Madonna is charmed by Marine Le Pen

France’s National Front gets some respect from the mainstream as it leads in local polls

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Madonna wants to get to know French politician Marine Le Pen.

The ultimate accolade for an American politician is when voters say they would like to sit down and have a beer with him or her.

So perhaps Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, should be happy that American pop singer Madonna wants to sit down and have a glass of wine with her.

This was the surprise invitation from Madonna when she appeared on French television last week while promoting her new album.

A surprise, because the singer has in the past pictured Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead in her concert montages and only days before called Le Pen’s party “fascist.”

After a pause for reflection, Le Pen accepted the invitation to have a drink with Madonna on a date to be determined, saying she admired “people who are willing to demonstrate good faith.”

It is perhaps another sign that Le Pen has been successful in her efforts to make the National Front —long treated as a pariah for its xenophobic and anti-Semitic tendencies under the leadership of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen — more acceptable to the mainstream.

Or perhaps it was a belated effort by Madonna, as she courts French music fans, to mend fences with what has become the leading political force in the country, with as much as 33% support in national polls.

That puts Le Pen’s party ahead of the center-right coalition that governed under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, hovering below 30%, and well ahead of the center-left Socialist Party led by President François Hollande, at 20%.

These are polls measuring support for the three main parties ahead of local elections later this month to choose governing councils for France’s 101 départements, roughly equivalent to counties in the U.S.

There is no guarantee that the high polling numbers for the National Front will translate into the same level of representation because councilors must win an outright majority in the first round on March 22 or go to a run-off vote on March 29.