French election turns ugly

2017-02-27 21:22
FILE: Protesters in France carrying banners and placards take part in a Women's March next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (Christophe Ena, AP)

FILE: Protesters in France carrying banners and placards take part in a Women's March next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (Christophe Ena, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Journalists accused of bias. Judges said to be taking orders from the president. The country in a state of "near civil war."

This isn't America's especially bitter presidential election campaign last year, but France's in 2017.

The latest comments from conservative Francois Fillon, who accused the Socialist government on Sunday of failing to ensure security for candidates, underline the increasingly ugly tone of France's campaign.

"I solemnly accuse the prime minister and the government of failing to create the conditions for the peaceful exercise of democracy," Fillon said in a statement late on Sunday.

"They carry a heavy responsibility for allowing a climate of near civil war to develop in the country," he added.

He referred to clashes in the western city of Nantes at the weekend during a demonstration against far-right leader Marine Le Pen which degenerated when anarchists and vandals attacked police and property.

Seven officers were injured including one with serious burns, and shop windows were broken.

Fillon, the former frontrunner whose bid has been thrown into turmoil by a corruption investigation, also said his campaign events were being disrupted "every day" by far-left activists.

Both Fillon and Le Pen have also attacked investigations of their use of allegedly fake parliamentary aides as an attempt to influence the election by outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Fillon has described an inquiry launched in January as an "institutional coup d'etat" and has accused journalists of trying to carry out a "lynching" and an "assassination".

Democracy had been corrupted 

The 62-year-old former prime minister faces allegations he paid his wife for 15 years as a fake assistant, while one of Le Pen's aides was charged last week over allegations the party defrauded the European parliament.

Both deny any wrongdoing but their attacks have questioned the independence and neutrality of the justice system ahead of a two-stage presidential election on April 23 and May 7.

"To imagine that investigations could have been ordered on Fillon or Marine Le Pen is completely absurd because it's illegal," Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas told a newspaper on Sunday.

Le Pen went ahead with her rally in Nantes on Sunday where she delivered a speech laced with criticism of how French democracy had been corrupted by the political establishment, the media and financial interests.

She refused to be questioned by anti-corruption investigators last week, saying she would not respond to summons during the presidential campaign.

Faced with Fillon's and Le Pen's mounting defiance and attacks, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve responded on Monday.

"In politics, especially during campaigning, you need a certain dignity, a high-mindedness, and respect for the truth," he said during a visit to a farm show.

Urvoas went further in an interview on France 2 television, accusing Fillon of trying to divert attention away from his legal problems.

"Really, a 'near civil war'? ... Before he was talking about an 'institutional coup d'etat', what will he say next? 'An extermination of the programmes'? 'A Holocaust of the candidates'?" he said.

Read more on:    francois fillon  |  marine le pen  |  france

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town

 
 

You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.