Friday, 22 February, 2019

French far-left presidential candidate Melenchon ahead of Fillon for first time

Melinda Barton | 10 April, 2017, 00:57

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Sunday that France is not responsible for the 1942 "Vel d'Hiv" round-up in which more than 13,000 Jews were arrested to be deported to Nazi concentration camps.

The often witty leftwinger, an admirer of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and staunch critic of the European Union, is seen winning 19 per cent of votes, up four points over a week, which puts him at the same level of support as Fillon.

A sticker reading "Pro-nuclear certified" is stuck on a poster of Conservative Presidential candidate Francois Fillon, in Marseille, southern France, Friday, April 7, 2017.

An Opinionway poll on Thursday showed Le Pen and Macron taking 25 and 24 percent of the first round vote respectively, with the ex-banker beating the National Front leader by 60 to her 40 percent in the runoff - a scenario largely unchanged in polls since mid-February. "When he names his team the Socialists will reappear and the loser will be France". Her popularity is due in part to her effort to distance herself from the extremist views that were the trademark of Jean-Marie Le Pen, her father and founder of the National Front party.

While Melenchon and Fillon gathered supporters, Macron and Le Pen were happy to spend time giving interviews.

"Jean-Luc Melenchon - he's a very nice guy but his promises are impossible to deliver and his program would be a disaster for France", Macron said.

But recent polls have shown the race tightening as the front-runners faltered and far-left maverick Melenchon surged after strong performances in two televised candidates' debates. "Personally, I don't know how you create jobs without companies". A third of the group were children.

The European Parliament accuses Le Pen's eurosceptic Front National party of defrauding it by about 340,000 euros ($360,000) by using funds allotted for parliamentary assistants to pay Le Pen's personal assistant Catherine Griset and her bodyguard Thierry Legier for work in France. "I'm asking you to back me, because this is about what's best for France", Fillon said. She also is concerned on the threats posed by the immigrants.

Requested of a minor drop in assistance based on current studies, the centrist that was separate responded: "They display precisely what I'm: that nothing is determined yet".