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2022 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

‘Not a single vote’: Losing candidates urge French voters not to back Le Pen

Several of the losing candidates in the first round of the presidential election called on French voters to back Emmanuel Macron, however there were two defeated candidates who called on supporters to back Marine Le Pen.

'Not a single vote': Losing candidates urge French voters not to back Le Pen
French leftist party La France Insoumise (LFI) presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon reacts as he addresses party supporters at Cirque D'Hiver in Paris on April 10, 2022. (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

Ten presidential candidates were eliminated from the race for the Elysée in Sunday’s first round vote, but they still have a chance to influence the second round.

In the aftermath of the results several candidates urged voters to follow their lead when it comes to the second round vote on April 24th.

READ MORE Macron v Le Pen: What happens next in the French elections?

Here’s what they had to say.

Pro-Macron 

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday received the backing of the defeated Socialist, Communist, Green and
right-wing candidates in his second-round election battle later this month against far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

In a boost for the president, Communist Party candidate Fabien Roussel, Socialist Anne Hidalgo, Yannick Jadot of the Greens and right-wing Republicans candidate Valérie Pécresse said they would vote for him to prevent the far-right leader coming to power.

“I will vote for Emmanuel Macron, in good conscience, to stop Marine Le Pen coming to power,” Pécresse told a crowd of supporters.

“I am calling on those electors who trusted me to consider the seriousness of any vote different to my own at the second round.”

The third-placed candidate, left-wing firebrand Jean Luc Mélenchon, stopped short of instructing his supporters to vote for Macron, but was clear that they should not support Le Pen. 

“We know who we will never vote for… Not a single vote must go to Mrs Le Pen,” Melenchon said at his party headquarters in Paris, stopping short of telling supporters they should back Macron.

Pro-Le Pen 

Far-right TV pundit-turned-candidate Éric Zemmour predictably appealed to his supporters to vote for Le Pen in the second round. 

“I don’t make a mistake over who my opponents are. I call on my voters to vote for Marine Le Pen,” Zemmour told supporters after being knocked out of the contest in the first round.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a fringe sovereigntist candidate also called on his supporters to back Le Pen.  

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POLITICS

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.

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