French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is toning down her threat to quit the euro.
The abrupt shift comes ahead of a runoff election on Sunday between the far right candidate and Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist backed by France’s establishment.
Le Pen campaigned on a promise to pull the world’s sixth largest economy out of the euro, and possibly even the European Union. She says that doing so would help France regain control over its own affairs.
But in a bid to calm worried voters, she now says that quickly ditching the common currency is “not a prerequisite” for her economic plans.
“The schedule will be adapted to the priorities … the French government will have to face. Everything will be done to organize a tranquil transition,” she wrote in a policy document released Friday.
The idea of leaving the euro and reintroducing the franc has scared many mainstream voters who worry their savings could be decimated by a weaker, new currency.
“It is a political switch,” said Saxo Bank analyst Dembik Christopher. “I don’t think she’s changed her mind regarding the euro area, but she is focusing on saving jobs and protectionism.”
Christopher said the key demographic of voters above the age of 60 would bema particularly concerned about a drop in the value of their savings.
In recent days, Le Pen has placed more emphasis on policies including a tax on imports, restrictions on immigration and penalties for companies that move operations outside France.
Le Pen has consistently said she wants France’s central bank to control the country’s monetary policy, and that she wants everyday people to use the French franc for purchases.
She has suggested that big companies could use a different currency for cross-border transactions that would be equivalent to the euro in value.
— Cristiana Moisescu and Ben Marcus contributed to this report.