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ELECTION

In Pictures: Top French politician left unconscious after being confronted by member of public

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a former conservative presidential candidate, was left unconscious lying on the ground for several minutes on Thursday after an altercation with a member of the public as she campaigned for the French parliamentary elections.

In Pictures: Top French politician left unconscious after being confronted by member of public
All photos: AFP

According to an AFP reporter who witnessed the incident, Kosciusko, known in France as NKM, was approached by a man as she handed out campaign leaflets at a market in the fifth arrondissement of Paris, where she is hoping to be elected MP.

The man, aged in his 50s, called the former minister a dirty 'bobo', a term that comes from a blend of bourgeois and bohemian and is often used in a derogatory way to describe Paris's wealthy middle class young professionals.

He also shouted “It's your fault we have Anne Hidalgo as mayor” referring to the fact NKM lost out to Hidalgo in the 2014 mayoral race. He also yelled  “go back to l'Essonne”, the department near Paris for which she is currently an MP.

Some reports say he then tried to hit her while BFM TV said she was violently pushed by the man.

Others suggested she fell when trying to protect herself when he threw her leaflets in her face. 

She lost consciousness for several minutes after apparently hitting her head as she fell.

The shaved headed man, dressed in a shirt and chinos, ran off to the nearest Metro station.

According to reports a memebr of NKM's team followed him on the Metro and later confronted him before being attacked.

He was not known to the candidate's campaign team, Le Parisien newspaper reports.

NKM, who lost out to François Fillon in last year's right-wing presidential primary, was reportedly treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to hospital.

She has received messages of solidarity from many disgusted French politicians from all sides including Socialist Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who strongly condemned the man's actions calling it a “cowardly and intolerable” act.

Former Socialist PM Manuel Valls also expressed his solidarity to NKM saying “nothing could justify this intolerable act”.

Fellow conservative, and another beaten presidential candidate, Alain Juppé sent NKM his best wishes and commended her courage.

She was also visited in hospital by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

“I condemn this intolerable act of violence,” said the PM.

NKM, 44, is campaigning ahead of the second round of France's parliamentary election this Sunday.

The former minister and spokeswoman under ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy faces a battle to win a seat in her central Paris constituency against Gilles Le Gendre from the Republic on the Move party of President Emmanuel Macron.

Le Gendre anonced on Thursday that he was suspending his campaign in light of what had happened to his opponent.

 

 

 

ELECTION

Le Pen narrowly tops European election polls in France in blow for Macron

The far-right National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen finished top in European elections in France on Sunday, dealing a blow to pro-European President Emmanuel Macron.

Le Pen narrowly tops European election polls in France in blow for Macron
Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella. Photo: AFP

Results released on Monday morning by the Ministry of the Interior, which have yet to be formally verified and declared by the National Voting Commission, showed that the far right Rassemblement National (RN) party topped the polls with 23.3 percent of the vote, beating French president Emmanuel Macron's La Republique En Marche.

They were closely followed by Macron's party, which polled 22.4 percent.

Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron at a polling station in Le Touquet earlier on Sunday. Photo: AFP

The allocation of seats in the European Parliament has been complicated for France by the UK's delayed departure from the EU.

The Parliament had already decided that after Brexit, some of the seats that had been occupied by British MEPs would be reallocated to other countries, with France set to gain an extra five seats

However, last minute delays to Brexit meant that the UK had to take part in the elections, with the result that France will not gain its extra seats until Britain leaves the EU.

On last night's polling results, the RN will get 22 seats in the European parliament immediately, and an extra seat once Britain leaves.

Macron's LREM will get 21 seats now and 23 after the UK leaves.

The green party lead by Yannick Jadot was placed third with 13.4 percent of the vote, gaining 12 seats now and 13 after Brexit. 

The two parties that between them had dominated French politics for decades until the rise of Macron both polled in single figures. Nicolas Sarkozy's old party Les Republicains polled 8.4 percent, while the Socialist party of Francois Hollande was on 6.31 percent, winning them eight and six seats respectively.

Meanwhile the 'yellow vest' candidates scored just 0.54 percent of the vote, below the Animalist party which polled 2.17 percent.

Nathalie Loiseau with LREM party workers. Photo: AFP

Although a total of 34 parties fielded candidates in the European elections in France, the election had largely been framed as a contest between Macron and Le Pen.

Macron's La Republique En Marche party, its list headed by former Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau, was contesting its first European elections.

Marine Le Pen, on the other hand, was hoping to replicate her 2014 European election victory with her Rassemblement National party, its list headed by a political novice, the 23-year-old Jordan Bardella. Bardella called the results a “failure” for the LREM ruling party and sought to portray Macron's defeat as a rejection by voters of his pro-business agenda in France and pro-EU vision.

Macron had made no secret of the significance he attached to the results, telling regional French newspapers last week that the EU elections were the most important for four decades as the union faced an “existential threat”.

Jordan Bardella, head of the RN list. Photo: AFP

He has jumped into the campaign himself in recent weeks, appearing alone on an election poster in a move that analysts saw as exposing him personally if LREM underperformed.

The score of the National Rally is slightly below the level of 2014 when it won 24.9 percent, again finishing top.

Le Pen had placed herself towards the bottom of the RN list, so she will be returning to the European Parliament, where she served as an MEP from 2004 to 2017.

Turnout at the polls in France was the highest in recent years, with 50.12 percent of people voting, significantly up from 35.07 percent in 2014.

Veteran France reporter John Lichfield said: “After six months of 'yellow vest' rebellion, that Macron list has 22 percent is respectable. Much better than President Hollande did in 2014 (14.5 percent).

“But he made the election all about himself and lost. His hopes of emerging as de facto EU leader or enacting more French reforms are damaged.”

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