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2022 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Former France president Sarkozy ‘will vote for Macron’ in second round

Les Républicains' last president posted a message on his Facebook page, saying: "I will vote for Emmanuel Macron because I believe he has the necessary experience faced with a grave international crisis"

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy casts his ballot for the first round of France's presidential election at a polling station in Paris
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy casts his ballot for the first round of France's presidential election at a polling station in Paris. (Photo: Julien de Rosa / AFP)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has revealed that he will vote for centrist Emmanuel Macron in the run-off presidential election against far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

“I will vote for Emmanuel Macron because I believe he has the necessary experience faced with a grave international crisis … his economic project puts the value of work as the top priority and his commitment to Europe is clear and unambiguous,” Sarkozy – Les Républicains most recent president – posted on his Facebook page ahead of the second-round vote on April 24.

“We must abandon our partisan habits… Fidelity to right-wing republican values and our governing culture must lead us to answer Emmanuel Macron’s call for unity,” he said.

The statement came just days after the candidate from Sarkozy’s own party – whom he had refused to support publicly – was eliminated in the first round of the election.

READ ALSO Sarkozy’s name jeered at French election rally

Candidate Valérie Pécresse obtained only 4.8 percent in the vote on Sunday.

This puts the Republicans in dire financial straits because it failed to reach the five-percent threshold above which election campaign spending is reimbursed by the state.

On Monday, Pécresse issued an urgent plea for donations to ensure her party’s survival, saying she had personally racked up campaign debts of €5 million.

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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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