PARIS (Reuters) - Far-right presidential challenger Marine Le Pen refused to rule out capital controls if she won the election and there was a run on banks as she negotiated France's exit from the European Union, but stressed they were unlikely to be needed.
In an interview with Reuters ahead of Sunday's decisive second round, Le Pen reaffirmed she wanted to take France out of the euroand said she hoped the French people would have a national currency in their pockets within two years.
Le Pen said she wanted to replace the EU single currency with another, looser type of cooperation in the form of the ECU basket of currencies that preceded the euro. That would exist alongside a national currency.
"The objective is to transform the euro 'single currency' into a euro 'common currency', going back to the ancestor of the euro, the ECU, which was an accounting unit that did not stop each country from having each its own currency," Le Pen said.
Calling the euro a deadweight on the French economy, the National Front candidate said a new national currency would better protect French people's savings. She accused the "establishment" of wanting to "frighten" voters into thinking otherwise.
"I am convinced there won't be any banking crisis," Le Pen said when asked if French negotiations to quit the EU could trigger a run on French banks.
Asked if she would impose capital controls if savers nevertheless did rush to take their money out of banks, she said: "If there's a run on banks, we could very well imagine such a solution for a few days, but I'm telling you it won't happen."
(Reporting by Ingrid Melander; editing by Richard Lough)