On Saturday, 4 February, in Lyon about his participation in the presidential campaign will announce the Chairman of the far-right National front, marine Le Pen. It will be the last candidate from a major party who made it.
In Lyon on Saturday will hold rallies two more candidates — the centrist, former economy Minister Emmanuel macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, candidate of the main ultra-left forces. In total, these three candidates can count on the support of 54% of the French in the first round of the presidential election (scheduled for 23 April), showed a poll Ifop, published on 2 February.
Just about his nomination said 11 candidates, but to really claim victory can only three of the recent polls, Le Pen, Makron and the candidate of the center-right party “the Republicans” françois Fillon, the former Prime Minister of France.
According to all forecasts, Le Pen won the first round of the election, but will not gain an absolute majority of votes in the second will yield a more moderate candidate — the Macron or Fillon.
Until last week, Fillon was considered the undisputed favorite of the elections, writes The New York Times. In early January behind him were ready to vote 25% of voters (according to Ifop), February 2, his popularity dropped to 20%. The cause of the fall favorite, writes the American edition, was the scandal surrounding his wife Penelop Fillon.
Four favorite: who is fighting for the presidency of France
On 25 January a popular French weekly Canard enchaine, known for its investigative journalism, published an article in which it claimed that Penelop Fillon in 1998-2002 worked as an aide to her husband when he was a member of the French Parliament. Employment of relatives of politicians in France are not prohibited, but the publication claims that the post of assistant was fictitious, as no results of the activities of Penelop not detected.
When in 2002 Fillon resigned from Parliament to the government as Minister of social Affairs and labour, his parliamentary mandate had been transferred to the same party Brand Julot, the present Deputy of the European Parliament. While Penelop Fillon was listed until 2007, the assistant Deputy Julot. “I’ve never worked with Penelop, only knew her as the wife of the Minister”, — told Canard enchaine, one of the assistants Julot. Over the years, in Parliament, the wife of Fillon received €500 thousand in the form of salary.
French investigators began checking the activities of Penelop Fillon in Parliament, suspecting misuse of public funds. Monday, January 30, the politician and his wife gave a statement to investigators. Wednesday, February 1, Francois Fillon announced that it intends to withdraw from the presidential race, despite falling ratings. “I will be a candidate in these elections, because has formed a policy which, I think, is only right to restore the power of the country”, — he said (quoted by “Interfax”).
On the same day Canard enchaine published the second part of its investigation. According to the weekly, Penelop Fillon was issued by the assistant of the husband-the Deputy not only in 1998-2002, but also in 1988-1990 and in 2012-2013 and received from the budget a total of €831 thousand in addition, two of their five children were assistants of father in the Senate in 2005-2007.
Earlier, Fillon claimed to have hired them as legal advisers, but at that time, emphasizes the Canard enchaine, they have not yet had a complete legal education. For two years children policy received in the amount of €83.7 thousand salary. In connection with this case on Friday, police raided the French Senate.
The old guard
After the publication of the second part of the investigation Fillon reiterated his innocence, adding that he believes the campaign against her and her family “attempted coup on the part of the left”. The politician said that the to voluntarily withdraw his candidacy from the presidential race, he agrees only in case of presentation by the prosecution of formal charges.
Under the least favorable to the Fillon scenarios he could face a prison sentence. In 2011, former French President Jacques Chirac was found guilty on similar charges: embezzlement of public funds, abuse of position and the appointment of his closest associates for bogus positions in the period of the mayor of Paris. The court appointed the ex-President sentenced to two years of prison, but age, condition and achievements to the state real term was replaced by the conditional.
Still, the drop in the popularity of Fillon causes panic in the ranks of “Republicans” and could lead to his exit from the presidential race “long before the police decide whether there is in actions of the politician and his wife’s crime”, stresses the French The Local. According to the publication, in the party leadership actively discussed a “plan B”, that is, the nomination of a new candidate.
Fillon became the candidate of the results of the primaries at the end of last year. The implementation of the new require from the party a lot of effort, time and money, and the deadline for submission of applications for candidates — March 17, reports The Local. The solution may be a one-time vote of supporters for the proposed party leadership candidacy. The most likely alternative is Fillon, Alain Juppe, a well — respected politician-conservative and former Prime Minister, Fillon losers of party primaries. However, on Wednesday he Juppe stressed that he supported the candidacy visit and not going to participate in “plan B”.
Another option would be former President Nicolas Sarkozy, announced on February 2, the newspaper Le Parisien, citing his supporters.
To the needs of the Fatherland
Financial fraud and suspect marine Le Pen. In early December, the financial Directorate of the European Parliament, Deputy whom Le Pen is 13 years, sent a policy notice demanding payment by January 31, 2017 debt in the amount of €298,5 thousand This amount is the salary of the assistant to Le Pen in the European Parliament Katrin Gries for 2010-2016. Subsequently, the European Parliament requested from Le Pen to pay back €41,5 thousand of debt — a salary of her bodyguard Thierry Legge.
According to France 24, experts from the office for the fight against fraud in the European Commission found out that the Gris and Legia were paid from the European budget, although in Brussels they were not observed, whereas the contract was supposed to run in the European capital. The results of their work, the experts also found. The experts found that at the specified time, the Gris and Legge worked in the Central apparatus of the National front in Paris.
Marine Le Pen’s allegations are categorically rejects. In an interview on TF1, she said, has already issued a “legal claim” to the financiers of the European Parliament.
Support the French candidate Le Pen, according to Ifop, is gradually declining: from 26% a month ago to 24%, according to February 2.
All this as the scandal surrounding the visit plays into the hands of the ex-Minister of economy Macron. Finally, notes Reuters, is good news for the Makron is the recent victory in the primaries of the Socialist party, former Minister of education Benoit Amon. As a policy of left-wing convictions, he is unlikely to enlist the support of centrist and left-centrist electorate, which can vote for the Macron.
Who lays claim to the Elysee Palace
Marine Le Pen — the leader of “National front”. The daughter of the founder of the party Jean-Marie Le pen, who in 2002 lost to Chirac in the second round of the presidential election. In the presidential election of 2012 took the third place with 18% of votes. In foreign policy, advocates the withdrawal of France from the EU and NATO and improving relations with Moscow. In domestic policy proposes to deal with illegal immigration, to impose a tax on imports and support of French manufacturers protectionist policies.
Francois Fillon — the candidate from “Republican”. Was head of the Cabinet of Ministers under President Sarkozy (2007-2012). Performs with conservative positions: a review of relations with the EU while maintaining the country in the Union, the restriction on the admission of migrants, reduction of taxes and reduction of state intervention in the economy. Has friendly relations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, supports the revision of the policy of sanctions against Moscow.
Emmanuel macron — the candidate from the party “Forward!”. The former in the years 2014-2016 by the Minister of economy, last spring, macron resigned from the government, organizing their own party, and in August announced his intention to run for President. His program, as the self-proclaimed centrist, consists of both the left (social reforms, the increase in salaries and benefits), and right-wing ideas (reducing the role of government, encouragement of private initiative, free market). Supports further integration with the EU, but also supports the development of relations with Russia.
Benoit Amon — the candidate of the Socialist party. Now a member of the French Parliament, in 2014 worked briefly Minister of education. The representative of the left wing party, advocates the introduction of an unconditional basic income, the legalization of soft drugs and euthanasia. Is a staunch supporter of green energy. Supported European integration, while Russia’s foreign policy calls “aggressive imperialism.”