‘It’s not over’: Marine Le Pen concedes defeat but vows to carry on the fight

Defeated far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen vowed on Sunday night that she would not abandon the French people after losing out to Emmanuel Macron in the second round vote.

'It's not over': Marine Le Pen concedes defeat but vows to carry on the fight
French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) presidential candidate Marine Le Pen delivers a speech at the Pavillon d'Armenonville in Paris on April 24, 2022 after the announcement of the first projections by polling firms of the French presidential election's second round results. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

Losing candidate Marine Le Pen gave a speech to supporters some 15 minutes after the projected result was announced and after she had called Emmanuel Macron to concede defeat.

Defiant Le Pen, the head of the far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally) party thanked the millions of voters who had backed her to be president of France whilst attacking the victorious candidate.

In front of cheering supports she said the fact that around 43 percent of voters backed her represented a “brilliant victory”.

“In this defeat I can feel hope,” she said in front of supporters who chanted “Marine! Marine!”

French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) presidential candidate Marine Le Pen (R) is applauded by supporters as she embraces her mother Pierrette in Paris, on April 24, 2022, following the announcement of the results of the second round of the French presidential election. – French President Emmanuel Macron was on course to win a second term by defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in presidential elections, projections showed. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

“I fear the five years to come will not break with the brutal five years we have had. I will continue my commitment to France and the French.

“It’s not over.”

She said the “historic score” showed the defiance of the French people towards French and European leaders.

Le Pen said she would never abandon the French people and said she would lead the campaign for the parliamentary elections. She had previously talked about resigning and leaving politics if she lost this election. 

Speaking about the winner she said: “I fear Emmanuel Macron will do nothing to repair the fractures that divide our country.”

She finished her speech by starting a rendition of the French national anthem with her supporters joining in.

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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.