Home Tags Posts tagged with "marine le pen"

marine le pen


La Republique en Marche, the party of French President Emmanuel Macron, has won a clear parliamentary majority, weeks after his own presidential victory.

With nearly all votes counted, La République en Marche, alongside its MoDem allies, won more than 300 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

The winning margin is lower than some expected, with turnout down from 2012.

La Republique en Marche was formed just over a year ago, and half of its candidates have little or no political experience.

The result has swept aside all of the mainstream parties and gives President Macron a strong mandate in parliament to pursue his pro-EU, business-friendly reform plans.

The second round of the parliamentary election was marked by weak voter turnout, estimated to be a record low of about 42%, down sharply on five years ago.

Correspondents say opponents of the 39-year-old president may simply have not bothered to turn out.

PM Edouard Philippe acknowledged the low turnout, promising his party would act for France as a whole.

The comfortable majority of La République en Marche (Republic on the Move or LREM) and MoDem – surpassing the 289-seat threshold required to control the National Assembly – will be a big blow to traditional parties on both the left and right.

The conservative Republicans and their allies could form a large opposition block, with 125-131 seats. But this figure is down from 200 seats in the last parliament.

The Socialists, who were in power for the past five years, alongside their partners, looked set to get only 41-49 seats – their lowest tally ever.


Socialist leader Jean-Claude Cambadélis announced his retirement from the post, and urged the left “to change everything, its form and its substance, its ideas and its organization”.

Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) party won eight seats, but it had set its sights on 15.

The 48-year-old leader has won a seat in parliament for the first time, representing Henin-Beaumont, a depressed former mining town in the north. However, two of her top aides, including her deputy leader, were eliminated.

Marine Le Pen said President Macron may have got a large parliamentary majority, but “he must know that his ideas are not of the majority in the country and that the French will not support a project that weakens our nation”.

Emmanuel Macron has decisively won the French presidential election, projected results say.

The centrist candidate defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen by about 65.5% to 34.5% to become, at 39, France’s youngest president, the results show.

Emmanuel Macron will also become the first president from outside the two traditional main parties since the modern republic’s foundation in 1958.

He said that a new page was being turned in French history.

Emmanuel Macron said he had heard “the rage, anxiety and doubt that a lot of you have expressed” and vowed to spend his five years in office “fighting the forces of division that undermine France”.

He said he would “guarantee the unity of the nation and… defend and protect Europe”.

Image source Wikimedia

Thousands of Emmanuel Macron’s supporters gathered to celebrate outside the Louvre in central Paris. Emmanuel Macron has now arrived to join them.

Security remains tight in Paris and there were reports of police firing tear gas at several hundred anti-capitalist protesters near the Ménilmontant metro in the 20th arrondissement.

The Macron team said that the new president had had a “cordial” telephone conversation with Marine Le Pen.

In a speech Marine Le Pen thanked the 11 million people who had voted for her. She said the election had shown a division between “patriots and globalists” and called for the emergence of a new political force.

Marine Le Pen said her National Front party needed to renew itself and that she would start the “deep transformation of our movement”, vowing to lead it into upcoming parliamentary elections.

She also said she had wished Emmanuel Macron success in tackling the “huge challenges” facing him.

President François Hollande congratulated Emmanuel Macron and said the result showed the French people wanted to unite around the “values of the republic”.

Initial figures suggested the turnout was lower than the past two elections.

Polls opened in France, where voters are choosing their next president after an unpredictable campaign that has divided the country.

The second round contest pits centrist Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker, against the 48-year-old far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen.

Citizens in some overseas territories and many French expats abroad have begun voting.

The polls opened in metropolitan France at 08:00 local time on May 7 and close at 19:00.

Polling stations will remain open in some big cities until 20:00 local time, with early estimates of the result due to be reported immediately after they close.

The two candidates, who topped a field of 11 presidential hopefuls in the first round election on April 23, have offered voters starkly different visions of France.

Emmanuel Macron, a liberal centrist, is pro-business and a strong supporter of the EU, while Marine Le Pen campaigned on a France-first, anti-immigration program.

Image source AFP

The National Front leader wants France to abandon the euro in the domestic economy, and hold a referendum on the country’s EU membership.

Emmanuel Macron is widely expected to win the vote, but analysts have said high abstention rates could damage his chances.

The run-off will be keenly watched across Europe, ahead of elections in Germany and the UK and as Britain negotiates its exit from the EU.

In whittling down a field of candidates to Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, French voters rejected the two big political parties – the Socialists and the Republicans – that have governed for decades.

The presidential campaign has been marked by its unpredictability, and in a final twist on May 5, soon before campaigning officially ended, Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! political movement said it had been the victim of a “massive” hack, with a trove of documents released online.

The Macron team said real documents were mixed up with fake ones, and electoral authorities warned media and the public that spreading details of the attack would breach strict election rules and could bring criminal charges.

En Marche compared the hack to the leak of Democratic Party emails in last year’s US presidential election that was blamed on Russian hackers.

Emmanuel Macron has previously accused Moscow of targeting him with cyber attacks, which Russia strongly denied.

On May 6, President François Hollande promised to “respond” to the attack.

Management of the economy, security, immigration and France’s relationship with the EU have all been key issues in the campaign.

One of the overriding issues is unemployment, which stands at almost 10% and is the eighth highest among the 28 EU member states. One in four under-25s is unemployed.

The French economy has made a slow recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and both candidates say deep changes are needed.

Marine Le Pen wants the pension age cut to 60 and to “renationalize French debt”, which she argues is largely held by foreigners.

Emmanuel Macron wants to cut 120,000 public-sector jobs, reduce public spending by €60 billion ($65 billion), plough billions into investment and reduce unemployment to below 7%.

If voters opt for Emmanuel Macron, they will be backing a candidate who seeks EU reform as well as deeper European integration, in the form of a eurozone budget and eurozone finance ministers.

Marine Le Pen promises quite the opposite. She wants a Europe of nations to replace the EU.

They are similarly divided on other foreign policy issues. Emmanuel Macron opposes any rapprochement with Russia, while Marine Le Pen met Vladimir Putin in Moscow recently and has previously stated her approval of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The presidential election will be followed by legislative elections on June 11 and 18. Emmanuel Macron, who quit the Socialist government of President Hollande to found his new political movement, has no lawmakers, and Marine Le Pen has only two.

Whoever wins the presidency will need to perform well in those crucial elections if they want to win a parliamentary majority to push through their proposals.

Emmanuel Macron’s campaign says it has been the target of a “massive hacking attack” after a trove of documents was released online.

The campaign of French presidential candidate said that genuine files were mixed up with fake ones in order to confuse people.

It said it was clear that hackers wanted to undermine Emmanuel Macron ahead of May 7 second round vote.

The centrist will face off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

The documents were leaked on a file sharing website on May 5 and the Macron camp condemned the action just before the official campaigning period ended at midnight.

Candidates and the media now face restrictions until the polls close on May 7, meaning Emmanuel Macron cannot issue further statements.

Opinion polls had indicated the former economy minister carried a lead of 20 percentage points or more over Marine Le Pen.

About nine gigabytes of data were posted online by an anonymous user.

Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche movement said internal campaign documents, including emails and financial data, had been taken in an “act of massive, co-ordinated hacking”.

“The leaked files were obtained several weeks ago by hacking personal and professional email accounts of several officials of the movement,” the party said in a statement.

Image source Wikimedia

The campaign said the documents showed only legitimate campaign activities.

France’s election commission warned that publication or republication of the leaked information could be a criminal offence.

That too remains unclear. The Macron camp has not blamed any specific party but said the hack clearly aimed to damage it and undermine French democracy.

It compared it to the leak of Democratic Party emails in last year’s US presidential election that was blamed on Russian hackers.

WikiLeaks, which published those emails, posted a link to the Macron documents on Twitter but implied it was not responsible.

Emmanuel Macron’s team has already been the victim of hacking attacks, for which it has blamed groups based in Russia and Ukraine. It suspects the Kremlin of wanting to help Marine Le Pen, who supports a pro-Moscow foreign policy.

Macron campaign servers went down for several minutes in February after attacks apparently originating in Ukraine. Last month, security experts from the company Trend Micro said that Russian hackers were targeting Emmanuel Macron’s campaign, using phishing emails, malware and fake net domains in an attempt to grab login names, passwords and other credentials of campaign staff.

Russia has denied that it is behind attacks aimed at Emmanuel Macron.

On May 4, Emmanuel Macron filed a lawsuit over online rumors that he had a secret bank account in the Caribbean.

The centrist candidate called the allegations “fake news and lies” and said some of the sites spreading them were “linked to Russian interests”.

Separate security alerts in and around Paris marred May 5 final scramble by the candidates to court voters.

A suspected radical Islamist possessing weapons and a pledge of allegiance to ISIS was arrested north of Paris.

Greenpeace activists scaled the Eiffel Tower to unfurl a banner, sparking an emergency police meeting.

French voters have rejected the two big political parties – the Socialists and the Republicans – that have governed for decades.

Voters will be making a decision on the country’s future direction and on its place at the heart of the EU.

If they opt for liberal Emmanuel Macron, they will be backing a candidate who seeks EU reform as well as deeper European integration, in the form of a eurozone budget and eurozone finance ministers.

If instead they choose far-right Marine Le Pen she promises quite the opposite. She wants a Europe of nations to replace the EU.

“I give myself six months to negotiate with the EU the return of sovereignty. Then it will be the French who decide,” Marine Le Pen tweeted.

The assumption is that Marine Le Pen would fail and a referendum would take place initially on France’s membership of the euro.

After the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of President Donald Trump, France is the latest country to deal a blow to politics as usual.

Emmanuel Macron was more impressive than rival Marine Le Pen in last night’s final TV debate for French presidential debate, a viewers’ poll says.

The candidates traded insults for more than two hours, arguing over terrorism, the economy, and Europe.

The French broadcaster BFMTV found voters had a more favorable view of Emmanuel Macron than Marine Le Pen in most categories.

Emmanuel Macron was the “most convincing” of the pair in the opinion of 63% of viewers.

Marine Le Pen lambasted her rival for his finance and government background, accusing him of being “the candidate of savage globalization” and said his version of France “is a trading room, where it will be everyone fighting for themselves”.

In turn, Emmanuel Macron said Marine Le Pen had openly lied, proposed nothing, and exaggerated the concerns of the public.

“The high priestess of fear is sitting before me,” he said.

Image source AFP

Both candidates were hoping to make an impression on the estimated 18% of undecided voters in the first election the country has ever held without a candidate from the two traditional mainstream parties.

The second round run-off between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen takes place on May 7.

The BFMTV poll found that Emmanuel Macron was deemed the “most convincing” during the TV debate for two-thirds of those who voted for both left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round, and for 58% of those who voted for Republican François Fillon.

Emmanuel Macron also led among voters when they were asked about which candidate was most honest, most aligned with the voters’ values, and who had the best plans.

It was carried out among 1,314 people over the age of 18 who watched the debate.

Emmanuel Macron already enjoys a lead in the opinion polls, which predict he will pull in about 59% of votes.

However, Marine Le Pen hammered her rival on his record during the key debate.

On unemployment, which stands at around 10% nationally, Emmanuel Macron acknowledged that France had not tackled the problem – and Marine Le Pen asked why he had not handled it during his recent time as economy minister.

Marine Le Pen also accused Emmanuel Macron of complacency about the threat of radical Islamist terrorism.

“Security and terrorism are major issues that are completely missing from your program,” she said.

In response, Emmanuel Macron said the measures she proposed – “eradicating” Islamic fundamentalism by shutting down extremist mosques, and expelling preachers of hate – played into terrorists’ hands and the desire they have for a “a civil war”.

They also clashed on the future of the EU, where they have clearly opposed views.

Marine Le Pen has said she would call for an in-out referendum on EU membership, and in recent days declared the euro currency finished.

During the debate, the National Front leader said she would restore France’s national currency and give companies and banks an option on which currency to pay in – a proposal which Emmanuel Macron labeled “nonsense”.

“How can a big company pay in euros on one hand and pay its employees in another currency?” he asked.

Last night’s debate marked the last time the two candidates faced each other before May 7 vote.

Just two days of campaigning remain before reporting restrictions come into force late on May 5 – and remain in place until polls close on May 7.

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron go head to head on in a TV debate seen as the climax of a long and bitter campaign for France’s presidential election.

The aim for centrist Emmanuel Macron and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen is to win the votes of large numbers of undecided or reluctant voters.

While Emmanuel Macron is well ahead in the polls, his lead has narrowed and an estimated 18% of voters are undecided.

For the first time, neither candidate is from a mainstream French party.

Although Marine Le Pen’s father qualified in 2002 for the run-off as head of her party, the National Front (FN), his rival and eventual winner, Jacques Chirac, refused to take part in a debate because of the FN leader’s extremist views.

Image source AFP

Both candidates have limited their campaigning in recent days in preparation for the debate, set for 21:00 on May 3 and due to last two hours 20 minutes.

There have been TV debates ahead of the first round but so far the two main candidates have not sparred face to face. And this is being billed as the moment of truth, on the two biggest TV channels in front of some 20 million French viewers.

All the big campaign themes will be tackled, from France’s 10% unemployment rate and the economy to security, health policy and the EU.

For Marine Le Pen it is her big chance to land some blows and make up ground by exposing her 39-year-old rival’s relative inexperience.

Emmanuel Macron as favorite arguably has most to lose.

The French debate is not similar to the US presidential debate where the candidates stand behind lecterns. This is a direct confrontation.

The two candidates will sit at a big desk, Marine Le Pen on the left, Emmanuel Macron on the right. The presidential debate is a tried and tested event in France, going back to 1974.

The two moderators, Nathalie Saint-Cricq and Christophe Jakubyszyn are heavyweight political journalists, but not the big TV presenters France is used to. That is because the candidates objected to the initial choices.

The temperature will be regulated at 19C to keep the candidates cool.

The debate is must-see TV for French voters but there could be a battle over the remote.

AS Monaco go head to head against Juventus 15 minutes before the debate starts in the semi-final of the Champions League, in a match broadcast on pay TV.

Marine Le Pen’s campaign is based on a patriotic “Choose France” slogan. According to her, she is the real thing, and her rival is an impostor backed up by the old guard of French politics.

Her supporters leapt on a rumor on May 2 that Emmanuel Macron was threatening to walk out of the debate if she started using him as a “punching-ball”.

Marine Le Pen tweeted: “If Mr. Macron doesn’t feel comfortable he can always ask [President] François Hollande to come and hold his hand, I won’t stand in his way.”

However, to convince voters wary of a far-right leader she may project a softer image too, while her opponent will need to show a firm streak.

Emmanuel Macron’s aim is to seek the moral high ground by showing that he has authentic policies while his rival’s ideas are simplistic and dangerous for France.

“I want to go head-to-head, to get to the bottom of the issues, to show that these are false solutions,” he said on May 2.

Marine Le Pen has announced that she is stepping aside as leader of her National Front (FN) party.

The move comes just a day after the far-right presidential candidate reached the second round of the French election, where she will face centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Marine Le Pen told French TV she needed to be above partisan considerations.

Opinion polls suggest Emmanuel Macron is firm favorite for the second round but Marine Le Pen said: “We can win, we will win.”

The French term Marine Le Pen used signaled that the move to step aside would be temporary.

She told France 2 that France was approaching a “decisive moment”.

Photo Reuters

Marine Le Pen said her decision had been made out of the “profound conviction” that the president must bring together all of the French people.

“So, this evening, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the candidate for the French presidency,” she said.

Marine Le Pen took over the FN leadership from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in January 2011.

She won 7.6 million votes on April 23 – the strongest ever result for a FN candidate, and 2.8 million more than her father won in 2002.

Her party wants to slash immigration, clamp down on trade, and overturn France’s relationship with Europe.

Emmanuel Macron, a former economy minister, is widely expected to win the run-off vote on May 7.

On April 24, he won the backing of President Francois Hollande, to go with that of two defeated candidates.

Francois Hollande said the far right would threaten the break-up of Europe, “profoundly divide France” and “faced with such a risk, I will vote for Emmanuel Macron”.

The president said his former economy minister would “defend the values which will bring French people together”.

Francois Fillon and Socialist Benoît Hamon both urged their supporters to vote for Emmanuel Macron.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen will face each other in the second round of the French presidential election.

Emmanuel Macron, a former banker, is seen as a political outsider, having never run an election campaign before.

After topping April vote, Macron is now favorite to win the run-off on May 7.

It is the first time in 60 years that neither of France’s main left-wing or right-wing parties has had a candidate in the second round.

With 97% of votes counted, Emmanuel Macron stands on 23.9% with Marine Le Pen on 21.4%.

Their nearest challengers, center-right François Fillon and hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, fell behind, with just over 19% each.

In a victory speech to supporters, Emmanuel Macron borrowed language favored by his rival to describe himself as the patriotic choice for France.

Image source NBC News

“I hope that in a fortnight I will become your president. I want to become the president of all the people of France – the president of the patriots in the face of the threat from the nationalists,” he said.

Marine Le Pen also made an “appeal to all patriots”, saying a vote for her was the key to the “survival of France”.

“Wherever they come from, whatever their origin, whatever they voted for in the first round, I invite them all to join us and to abandon ancient quarrels and to concentrate on what is essential for our country,” she said.

Marine Le Pen’s campaign for the Front National party centers on wanting to slash immigration, clamp down on free-trade, and overturn France’s relationship with Europe.

Emmanuel Macron was current President Francois Hollande’s economy minister but quit to create his own party, En Marche, which pushes a liberal, pro-EU agenda.

The 39-year-old could now become the youngest president France has ever had.

Various political rivals are now expected to unite in a bid to keep the Front National from power.

Benoit Hamon, the candidate of President Hollande’s Socialist Party who failed to make an impact in the first round, urged those who voted for him to support Emmanuel Macron in the next stage.

Francois Fillon has done the same.

As the results came in, Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation in front of an EU flag, giving hope to European leaders who are keen to strengthen the union after Brexit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffan Seibert, tweeted: “It’s good that Emmanuel Macron was successful with his course for a strong EU and social market economy. All the best for the next two weeks.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also congratulated Emmanuel Macron, as did EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Salvează

French voters are going to the polls to choose their next president, amid high security following a deadly attack on Champs Elysees three days ago.

About 50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers are being deployed across France to secure polling.

Eleven candidates are vying to be France’s next president, with leading candidates spanning the political spectrum from far-left to far-right.

The two with the most votes will go to a run-off round in a fortnight’s time.

Polling stations in France opened at 08:00 local time, although some overseas territories began the voting on April 22. Voting ends at 20:00, with exit polls expected quickly afterwards.

Four candidates are currently seen as being within reach of the presidency: conservative François Fillon, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, liberal centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Image source France24

The candidates have created plenty of debate in France, all offering dramatically different visions of Europe, immigration, the economy and French identity.

Extra security measures are in place on polling day after Karim Cheurfi, a convicted criminal, shot dead a police officer on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Karim Cheurfi was killed by security forces and a note defending ISIS was found near his body.

National security had been one of the main talking points during the campaign, but candidates have been accused of exploiting the most recent attack for political gains.

The race between the leading contenders is considered too close to call.

However, no candidate is expected to get the 50% of votes required for an outright win.

A second round between the top two will be held on May 7.

Francois Fillon is the only one among the leading contenders from an established party of government.

Benoît Hamon, the socialist candidate from the same party as the current president, is seen as out of the running.

President François Hollande is not seeking a second term, and is the first French president in modern history not to do so.

0

Francois Fillon has been placed under formal investigation over an alleged diversion of public funds, French prosecutors say.

The center-right presidential candidate is suspected of paying hundreds of thousands of euros to his family for work they may not have done.

Francois Fillon denies wrongdoing, but had earlier said he would quit the presidential race if placed under investigation.

Until recently, he was the favorite to win the elections in April and May.

However, the former prime minister has now slipped behind far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Image source Wikimedia

On March 14, Francois Fillon, 63, was personally placed under formal investigation over suspicions that he arranged for his wife Penelope to be paid public money for work as his parliamentary assistant which she did not actually carry out.

Francois Fillon is also being investigated over payments to his two children Marie and Charles when he was a senator. He has said his children were paid as lawyers, for specific tasks. But neither was a qualified lawyer at the time.

In all, Francois Fillon is suspected of diverting public funds, complicity in misappropriating funds, receiving the funds and not declaring assets fully.

A magistrate had already been investigating the case, but until now the inquiry did not mention directly Francois Fillon.

The embarrassment is acute because this is the same Francois Fillon who before the campaign said it would be inconceivable for someone to remain as a candidate if placed in this legal situation, our correspondent adds.

In a separate development on March 14, French media report that Marine Le Pen is now suspected by the country’s tax authorities of undervaluing her share of two properties jointly owned with her father Jean Marie Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen has made no public comment on the issue.

France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen missed a European Parliament deadline to return more than 300,000 euros ($321,000) it says she has misspent.

Marine Le Pen had until midnight to repay the money, but said she had no intention of doing so.

According to the European Parliament, the French presidential candidate wrongly used the funds to pay an aide at the National Front’s headquarters in Paris.

Marine Le Pen says she is the victim of a politically motivated vendetta.

If she does not repay the money, the parliament could now respond by withholding as much as half of her salary and allowances, which her opponents say total almost €11,000 a month.

Marine Le Pen is one of the front-runners in the French presidential election to be held in April and May. If she wins, she has promised a Brexit-style referendum on France’s membership of the EU.

Polls suggest that Marine Le Pen will make it to the run-off where she is likely to face conservative candidate Francois Fillon or centrist Emmanuel Macron.

“I will not submit to the persecution, a unilateral decision taken by political opponents… without proof and without waiting for a judgement from the court action I have started,” she told Reuters on January 31.

The money the European Parliament wants returned was used to pay the salary of Catherine Griset, a close friend of Marine Le Pen as well as her cabinet director.

The funds were conditional on Catherine Griset spending most of her working time in Brussels or Strasbourg.

However, the parliament says most of Catherine Griset’s time was instead spent working in the National Front’s headquarters in Paris. The party will face a second demand for 41,554 euros in wages paid to her bodyguard.

Marine Le Pen also tried to distance herself from financial allegations overshadowing Republican candidate Francois Fillon, who has vigorously denied that his wife was paid 834,000 euros for fake jobs.

Asked if she would pay back the money, the far-right leader told AFP: “To pay the money back, I’d have had to have received the funds, but my name isn’t Francois Fillon.”

Quite apart from her refusal to pay back the funds, Marine Le Pen might struggle to find the money. Her party has been unable to raise funds from French banks and has had to seek financing abroad.

In 2014, the FN received a €9 million loan from Russian lender First Czech-Russian Bank, which collapsed in 2016.

Francois Fillon has won the conservative candidacy in the 2017 French presidential election after his rival Alain Juppe admitted defeat.

With virtually all the results counted, Francois Fillon had won November 27 run-off with nearly 67% of the vote.

He said action was now needed to build a fairer society.

Francois Fillon is likely to face a Socialist candidate and the far-right’s Marine Le Pen in next April’s election.

Image source Wikimedia

Image source Wikimedia

“My approach has been understood,” he told his supporters after the result of the Republican party primary became clear.

“France can’t bear its decline. It was truth and it wants action.”

Alain Juppe, the more moderate candidate, congratulated Francois Fillon on his “large victory” and pledged to support him in his bid to become president.

With votes from 9,334 of the 10,229 polling stations counted, Francois Fillon won 66.9% while Alain Juppe had 33.1%.

Francois Fillon, 62, had been widely expected to win the race, after securing 44% of the vote in the first round a week ago that saw former President Nicolas Sarkozy knocked out.

A former prime minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Fillon is a Catholic who is seen as a traditionalist on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

Francois Fillon is proposing dramatic economic reforms that include slashing 500,000 public jobs, ending the 35-hour week, raising the retirement age and scrapping the wealth tax.

Alain Juppe, also a former prime minister, had initially been seen as the favorite to win the race, but struggled against Francois Fillon’s strong performances in the primary debates.

France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy has been knocked out of the first round of the conservatives’ primary to choose the presidential candidate of the center-right Republican party.

Admitting defeat, Nicolas Sarkozy endorsed Francois Fillon, a moderate who finished first in November 20 first round, according to near-complete results.

Nicolas Sarkozy has announced his return to French politics

Nicolas Sarkozy has announced his return to French politics

Alain Juppe, who like Francois Fillon is an ex-prime minister, finished second.

They will face each other in a run-off on November 27. The winner will compete in next year’s presidential election.

The winner of the Republican primary is likely to make the presidential run-off, where he or she will probably face far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

With the governing socialists unpopular and divided, it seems unlikely that any left-wing candidate will survive the first round in April.

Polls currently suggest that the center-right candidate would win the second round in May.

0

Marine Le Pen has been acquitted of charges of inciting hatred on the December 2010 campaign trail in Lyon, France.

The charges relate to the National Front leader’s comments comparing Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two.

In October Marine Le Pen told a court in Lyon she did not commit any offence.

Prosecutors said she had exercised her right to free speech and was not referring to all Muslims.

Marine Le Pen was charged in July 2014 after her immunity as a member of the European Parliament was lifted following a vote requested by French authorities.

In her 2010 speech to far-right FN supporters, broadcast by French media, Marine Le Pen said that France had initially seen “more and more veils”, then “more and more burkhas” and “after that came prayers in the streets”.Marine Le Pen inciting hatred

She said: “I’m sorry, but some people are very fond of talking about World War Two and about the occupation, so let’s talk about occupation, because that is what is happening here…

“There are no tanks, no soldiers, but it is still an occupation, and it weighs on people.”

The case was originally dropped last year by the Lyon court of appeal but was revived by anti-racism groups who made a civil complaint.

Praying in the streets was banned in Paris in 2011 in response to growing far-right protests.

In the same year France became the first EU state to ban public wearing of the face-covering Islamic veil (niqab).

The ruling came after Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration FN gained a record number of votes in regional elections.

The FN led in six of the 13 regions after the first round of voting, though due to tactical voting it did not go on to win any regions in the second round.

The party received 6.8 million votes in the second round, amounting to a 27.36% share of the vote.

“Nothing can stop us now,” Marine Le Pen told supporters after the result announcement.

“By tripling our number of councilors, we will be the main opposition force in most of the regions of France.”

Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National (National Front) has failed to win a single region in the second round of elections, exit polls indicate.

According to early, the FN has been beaten into third place, despite leading in six of 13 regions in the first round of votes a week ago.

The polls predict Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right Republicans will win most seats ahead of the ruling Socialists.

Acknowledging defeat, Marine Le Pen pledged to keep fighting.

She blamed the outcome on the mainstream parties which joined forces to keep the FN from power, telling her supporters they had been “disenfranchised in the most indecent of ways by a campaign of lies and disinformation”.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Marine Le Pen stood as a candidate in the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie. Her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen was standing in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, in the south.

After both secured more than 40% of the vote in the first round, the trailing Socialist candidates in those regions pulled out so their voters could support the Republican candidate against the FN for the second round.

One poll suggested Marine Le Pen had secured 42.5% in the second round in her region, against the centre-right’s 57.5%.

Xavier Bertrand, who is leading in Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, said the French had given “a lesson of rallying together, courage. Here we stopped the progression of the National Front.”

Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls was less upbeat. He warned the “danger posed by the far right has not gone away, far from it”.

Nicolas Sarkozy said now was the time “for in-depth debates about what worries the French”, noting security concerns, unemployment and frustration with the EU.

These elections were to vote for councils and presidents of the 13 French regions, which have wide powers over local transport, education and economic development.

French media are predicting that the Republicans have taken seven regions and the Socialists five, with nationalists winning Corsica. Official results are expected early on December 14.

The first round of voting on December 6 gave the FN the best election results in its history.

It was the first electoral test since last month’s Paris attacks claimed by ISIS, in which 130 people were killed.

In the lead-up to the first round, opinion polls suggested that the popularity of the anti-immigration, anti-EU FN had increased since the deadly attacks.

The FN had been hoping a strong performance would boost Marine Le Pen’s chances for the 2017 presidential election.

Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) is seeking to consolidate its last week’s gains in France’s second round of regional elections.

The far-right FN is leading in six of 13 regions in mainland France.

However, opinion polls indicate that the centre-right Republican opposition of Nicolas Sarkozy has gained ground since then.

The Republicans pushed the ruling Socialists into third place in the first round.

The Socialists have removed losing candidates from vulnerable seats to avoid splitting the anti-FN vote. However, the Republicans have refused to do the same.

The FN won 27.73% of the vote in the first round, followed by Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans on 26.65% and President Francois Hollande’s Socialists with 23.12%.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Marine Le Pen, who stood in the northern region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, and her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen, who stood in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south, both looked to have won more than 40% of the vote.

She later told her supporters it was a “magnificent result” which proved the FN was “without contest the first party of France”.

French regions have wide powers over local transport, education and economic development.

The far right has been steadily gaining votes over the past few years from both left- and right-wing sympathizers through a mix of nationalist and pro-welfare policies, correspondents say.

In the lead-up to the first round, opinion polls suggested that the popularity of the anti-immigration, anti-EU FN had increased since the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13.

The FN is hoping a strong performance will boost Marine Le Pen’s chances in the 2017 presidential election.

The government’s response to the Paris attacks has boosted President Francois Hollande’s approval ratings – they have soared more than 30 percentage points to 50%.

However, this surge in personal popularity has so far not translated into greater approval for Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party.

Marine Le Pen’s Front National (National Front) appears to have made big gains in France’s first round of regional elections, estimates show.

They put the far-right National Front ahead in at least six of 13 regions in mainland France.

The elections are the first electoral test since last month’s Paris attacks, in which 130 people were killed.

The center-right Republicans party led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to be in second place ahead of the governing Socialist Party.

A second round of voting will be held on December 13.

As the results became clear, the Socialist party said it was withdrawing from the second round in at least two regions, in the north and the south, to try to block a run-off victory for the FN.

Exit polls from December 2 vote predicted that the FN had won 30.8% of the vote, followed by Nicolas Sarkozy’s Republicans on 27.2% and President Francois Hollande’s Socialists with 22.7%.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

FN leader Marine Le Pen, who stood in the northern region of Nord-Pas-De-Calais-Picardie, and her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen, who stood in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south, both looked to have won more than 40% of the vote, polls predicted, breaking previous records for the party.

Marine Le Pen told supporters it was a “magnificent result” which proved the FN was “without contest the first party of France”.

In previous years, the center-right opposition and governing Socialist party have worked together to block the FN.

However, Nicolas Sarkozy said there would be no “tactical alliances” in the second round.

French regions have wide powers over local transport, education and economic development.

The far right has been steadily gaining votes over the past few years from both left- and right-wing sympathizers through a mix of nationalist and pro-welfare policies.

In the lead-up to the election, opinion polls suggested that the popularity of the anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front had increased since the Paris attacks on November 13.

The election has been held under a state of emergency declared after the Paris attacks, which were claimed by Islamic State militants.

The FN is hoping a strong performance will boost Marine Le Pen’s chances for the 2017 presidential election.

Meanwhile, the government’s response to the Paris attacks has boosted President Francois Hollande’s approval ratings – they have soared more than 30 percentage points to 50%.

However, this surge in personal popularity has so far not translated into greater approval for Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, which is trailing with about 22%.

PM Manuel Valls made an “appeal to patriotism” on December 3 in an effort to rally the Socialist vote.

Assemblies are being elected in the 13 regions of metropolitan France and in four overseas territories.

France is voting in regional elections, the first electoral test since last month’s Paris attacks, in which 130 people were killed.

According to opinion polls, there will be a strong showing for the far-right National Front (FN).

The center-right led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to win in most regions at the expense of the governing Socialist Party.

December 6 first round will be followed by a run-off on December 13.

French regions have wide powers over local transport, education and economic development.

The election is also being closely watched after opinion polls suggested the popularity of the anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front had increased since the attacks on November 13.France regional elections 2015

National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen is likely to win in the northern region of Nord-Pas-De-Calais-Picardie, while her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen is a leading contender in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south.

It would be the first time the FN has captured any of France’s regions. The party is hoping a strong performance will boost Marine Le Pen’s chances for the 2017 presidential election.

Both Nicolas Sarkozy’s Les Republicains party and the FN appear to be heading for about 30% of votes, according to opinion polls, but President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party is trailing on about 22%.

PM Manuel Valls made an “appeal to patriotism” on December 3 in an effort to rally the Socialist vote.

The election is being held under a state of emergency which was declared after the Paris attacks.

On December 4, the Belgian prosecutor’s office said police were seeking two new suspects accused of aiding the fugitive suspect from the Paris attacks Salah Abdeslam, who lived in Belgium.

They are “armed and dangerous” and are thought to have helped Salah Abdeslam travel to Hungary in September.

Investigators say Salah Abdeslam may have driven the suicide bombers at the Stade de France to their target on the night of the Paris attacks.

However, Salah Abdeslam’s precise role in the attacks remains unclear. There are suggestions he was meant to carry out a suicide attack on the night but decided against it.

Marine Le Pen has appeared in court in Lyon, to answer charges of inciting racial hatred, for comparing Muslims praying in the street to the Nazi occupation.

The French National Front (FN) leader made the comments at a rally in Lyon in 2010 when she was fighting for the leadership of the party.

Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration and anti-EU message is attracting increasing support in France.

Her party is hoping to win two French regions in December local elections.

Outside court, the far-right leader insisted she had not committed any offence and questioned the timing of the trial.

“We’re a month away from a regional election and this affair dates back five years,” she told reporters.

According to an opinion poll at the weekend, her niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, could wrest control of the key southern region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur (Paca) from the governing Socialists.Marine Le Pen in court 2015

Alarm at the rise of the National Front (FN) prompted President Francois Hollande to warn France not to take the risk of backing the far right.

“Don’t play with this way of voting just to send a message, just because of unhappiness and anger,” the president told French radio.

“For investors, for external trade, jobs and growth, there will be consequences.”

Marine Le Pen took over the FN leadership in 2011 and has since tried to steer the party away from its racist and anti-Semitic past.

It was during a campaign speech in December 2010 that she told FN supporters: “I’m sorry, but some people are very fond of talking about the Second World War and about the occupation, so let’s talk about occupation, because that is what is happening here.”

“There are no tanks, no soldiers, but it is still an occupation, and it weighs on people.”

The phenomenon of street prayers emerged when French Muslims were unable to find space in mosques, and after a political outcry the practice was banned in Paris in 2011.

Marine Le Pen was investigated for her public remarks and she was eventually stripped of her immunity from prosecution by the European Parliament in 2013.

Ahead of the trial, Marine Le Pen made clear that she would use the occasion to defend her right to freedom of expression.

She is accused of incitement to discrimination, violence or hatred towards a group of people because of their religious affiliation and if found guilty could face up to a year in jail and a fine of €45,000 ($51,000).

The French Council of the Muslim Faith said Marine Le Pen’s remarks had fed a climate of Islamophobia.

France’s far-right Front National (FN) has expelled its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, following a feud with daughter and party leader Marine Le Pen.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was honorary president, was dismissed after a three-hour extraordinary party congress.

He was initially suspended back in May, after he repeated his view that the Holocaust was “a detail of history”.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Marine Le Pen took over as leader in 2011 and has tried to steer the party away from its racist and anti-Semitic past.

The FN was founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972. He still holds a seat in the European Parliament and a post as a regional councilor in the south of France.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, 86, launched a legal challenge against his suspension, and on July 2, a court decided to overturn it.

The judge ruled that the correct procedure had not been followed and ordered that an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) be held to discuss his future.

That meeting took place on August 20, and Jean-Marie Le Pen has now been expelled.

His dismissal follows a series of remarks regarded as inflammatory and a feud with his daughter.

Earlier this year Jen-Marie Le Pen restated his characterization of the Holocaust as a “detail” – a view he first expressed in 1987 – and also said he had never considered France’s wartime collaborationist leader Philippe Petain a traitor.

Marine Le Pen has said in the past that her father should “no longer be able to speak in the name of the National Front”.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France’s far-right National Front party, says he is “ashamed” his daughter – current party leader Marine Le Pen – still bears his surname.

Amid a growing feud, Jean-Marie Le Pen said he hoped she “would get married as quickly as possible so as to change her name”.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, 86, added he would not support his daughter in presidential elections in 2017.

His remarks came after the far-right party suspended Jean-Marie Le Pen, 86, after he repeated his view that the Holocaust was “a detail of history”.Jean Marie Le Pen and daughter Marine feud

Marine Le Pen, 46, has been trying to steer the National Front (FN) away from its racist and anti-Semitic past.

Her view is that FN’s growth is being held back by memories of what the far-right party used to be, and that to move to the next level it must cut itself free from its past.

Speaking to France’s Europe 1 radio, Jean-Marie Le Pen said: “I was hoping that the president of the National Front would get married as quickly as possible so as to change her name.

“Because I’m ashamed that she has the same surname as me.”

Asked if he would still be supporting his daughter in the presidential elections, Jean-Marie Le Pen answered: “Not for the moment.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen has been suspended but not dismissed by the party – a decision he described as a “felony”.

An extraordinary party congress is expected to be held within three months aimed at ending the function of honorary president – which Jean-Marie Le Pen has been holding since stepping down as leader in 2011.

Some commentators have suggested Jean-Marie Le Pen could be more of a risk outside the party than within it.

Jean-Marie Le Pen still holds a seat in the European Parliament and a post as a regional councilor in the south of France.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former leader of France’s National Front, will find out if he is to lose his post of honorary president after a series of inflammatory remarks and a protracted feud with his daughter, Marine Le Pen.

National Front President Marine Le Pen said on the eve of the far-right party’s board meeting that her father should “no longer be able to speak in the name of the National Front”.

Jean-Marie Le Pen founded the National Front (FN) in 1972 and led it until 2011.

Marine Le Pen has tried to steer the nationalist party away from its racist and anti-Semitic past.

The party’s executive was meeting on May 4 in Nanterre near Paris to decide what action to take after Jean-Marie Le Pen repeated his assertion that the Nazi gas chambers were a “detail of history”.Jean Marie Le Pen and daughter Marine Le Pen

As well as reviving an old anti-Semitic slur, Jean-Marie Le Pen told far-right newspaper Rivarol last month that he had never considered France’s wartime collaborationist leader Philippe Petain a traitor and labeled PM Manuel Valls an immigrant.

It is unclear what penalty the FN’s disciplinary board could impose on Jean-Marie Le Pen, 86, and still a Euro parliamentarian.

Among the options is his total exclusion from the FN, although some French commentators suggested Jean-Marie Le Pen could be more of a risk outside the party than if he were contained within it.

Marine Le Pen was adamant in a broadcast interview that she wanted her father out of the political picture.

“What I wish is that the FN will no longer be taken hostage by provocations that are now becoming recurrent on the part of Jean-Marie Le Pen,” she said.

In her interview on May 3rd, Marine Le Pen said she had the feeling that her father could not bear the thought of the party continuing to carry on without him as leader.

Although Jean-Marie Le Pen was sidelined from the party’s traditional May 1st march on Friday, he took to the stage in defiance while his daughter was delivering a speech.

Last month, in the face of widespread party opposition, Jean-Marie Le Pen abandoned a plan to lead a party list in regional elections in southern France.

The FN has made significant political strides since Marine Le Pen took over the leadership from her father, attempting to sweep away its extremist image but maintaining its anti-immigration policies.

Marine Le Pen is aiming to make the run-off vote for the French presidency in 2017.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France’s National Front (FN), has announced he is pulling out of regional elections amid a row with his daughter Marine Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen, who now leads the far-right party, condemned her father for his recently repeated claims Nazi gas chambers were a “detail of history”.

Jean-Marie Le Pen told Le Figaro newspaper he would not be standing in the south-eastern Paca region.

But he said he thought he was “the best candidate for the National Front”.Jean Marie Le Pen pulls out of election

Jean-Marie Le Pen said his granddaughter Marion Marechal-Le Pen would be the best person to stand in his place.

“If she accepts, I think she would head a very good list [of candidates]. She is certainly the best, I am not going to say after me, but she is,” he told the publication.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is FN’s honorary president, did not make it clear whether he would seek a place as a candidate on the list of his granddaughter for the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region.

Marine Le Pen has tried to rid the party of its racist image.

France’s far-right Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen has said she will move to stop her father Jean-Marie Le Pen from standing in polls later this year.

In a statement Marine Le Pen said her father’s status as honorary president of the party “does not mean he can take the Front National hostage”.

Last week Marine Le Pen condemned her father for repeating his claim that the Nazi gas chambers were “a detail of history”.

Marine Le Pen is widely expected to run for president in 2017.Marine Le Pen and father Jean-Marie Le Pen

In the statement, Marine Le Pen says her father “seems to have entered a veritable spiral between a scorched earth strategy and political suicide”.

“Given this situation, I have told him I will oppose… his candidacy in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur,” she said.

She said Jean-Marie Le Pen’s “crude provocations seem aimed at harming me but, alas, they have dealt a very heavy blow to the whole movement”.

Earlier this month 86-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party’s founder, gave a radio interview in which he repeated his controversial remarks on the Nazi gas chambers.

His daughter condemned those remarks, leading Jean-Marie Le Pen to declare to a far-right newspaper that “one is only ever betrayed by one’s own”.

Last month the FN polled 25% of votes in the first round of local elections.

While lower than some opinion polls had predicted, correspondents say that performance showed that Marine Le Pen’s strategy, including shutting down the party’s overtly racist elements, is paying off.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s Conservative UMP Party and its allies appear to have come first in the final round of French local elections.

The UMP appeared set to secure more than 60 local councils, exit polls suggested, up from 41.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front also appeared to have made gains, while the ruling Socialists and their allies may lose about 30 departments.

These elections are seen as a test case ahead of 2017’s presidential election.

Paris and Lyon, France’s two biggest cities, were excluded from Sunday’s election.

The National Front appeared to have won a significant number of seats in Sunday’s second round of elections, but it was not clear if it had gained control of any councils, the exit polls said.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Marine Le Pen hailed a “historic” day for the FN, saying: “I thank all our voters for this magnificent success.”

PM Manuel Valls admitted that the Socialist Party had lost ground, and said that the rise in the National Front’s popularity showed a lasting change in France’s political landscape.

He vowed to redouble efforts to boost the economy.

Nicolas Sarkozy said voters had rejected the policies of his successor as president, Francois Hollande.

“Never has our political family won so many councils,” he told supporters.

Francois Hollande has suffered from slumping personal ratings, boosted only briefly by his response to January’s terror attacks in Paris.

French voters have been electing representatives in 101 departments, or counties, charged with issues like schools and welfare.

[youtube 1xk-jRvrobM 650]