Centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou has called on France’s mainstream political parties to help ensure that the far-right’s Marine Le Pen is eligible to be on the electoral ballot, France 24 reports.She is still about 140 mayoral signatures short of being allowed to declare her candidacy.
Bayrou, who heads the Democratic Movement Party (MoDem), believes Le Pen’s absence in the first round of elections on April 22 would create “disorder” around the ballot, especially since Le Pen is polling around 17 per cent.
Bayrou said in a statement that all parties should be represented, because “democracy is more important than political parties,” and he was open to discussing possible courses of action with the other candidates.
Not surprisingly, France’s mainstream parties have dismissed the suggestion. “An election… is not about meeting up in a backroom to divide up signatures saying ‘Here you have this county and I’ll have this mayor’,” Manuel Valls, director of communications for Socialist candidate Francois Hollande told Europe 1.
Green Party candidate Eva Joly said that Le Pen should respect the electoral rules, and that the reason she was short of signatures was because mayors did not conform to her positions, Le Monde reports.
Many believe it is just a stunt to gain attention.
“She will have enough signatures. The National Front play this game every election,” French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told Le Monde.
For her part, Le Pen insisted she “did not call for help” and would not be “begging” mayors for their signatures. Her preferred solution is a change in the law which would allow officials to give signatures anonymously.
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