French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been knocked out of the contest for a centre-right presidential candidate and signalled his withdrawal from politics.
Admitting defeat, Mr Sarkozy endorsed Francois Fillon, a free-market liberal who won Sunday’s first round with 44% of the vote.
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Time For Truth: (BBC News) – France Sarkozy: Ex-president exits after defeat
The president of the National Front, a right-wing Eurosceptic party, issued the warning to Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission after branding his state of the Union speech to MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, “insipid”.
Expressing his “regret” at the historical Brexit vote, Mr Juncker insisted the EU is “not at risk”.
Former French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has set up a new political organisation, following his explusion from the Front National (FN), which he cofounded. Membership of the group should not be incompatible with FN membership, he claimed. His daughter Marine, who now leads the party, may disagree.
Jean-Marie Le Pen told supporters he wanted to start a movement dubbed the “Blue White and Red Rally” with the aim of uniting those without FN party membership and those still loyal to him.
France’s Front National may have been given a multi-million-euro loan by a Russian bank as a “reward” for backing President Putin’s annexation of Crimea, according to text messages released by Russian hackers.
The publication of excerpts from the messages by the French news website Mediapart has rekindled accusations that Moscow is bankrolling the Front National and other European far-Right groups.
When France’s Front National emerged victorious in the recent European elections, party president Marine Le Pen appeared to have succeeded in her quest to persuade the voting public it was no longer extreme, antisemitic, or a haven for Nazi apologists.
Madame Le Pen, however, was not counting on her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the FN founder and honorary president.
While she claims to have “de-demonised” the party – and threatens to sue anyone who calls it “extreme” right – Le Pen senior repeatedly confirms the old French epigram: “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing).