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  • 16

    Encore for Old Soldier Le Pen
    General; Posted on: 2007-03-26 11:56:53 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Le Pen confounded the forecasters in the 2002 election

    Lionel Walsh

    MANY French voters thought he was down and out. But 78-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen, France’s far-right presidential candidate, has bounced off the ropes and is back in the ring. He will be running for president for the fifth time next month. The blustering founder of the French National Front says he is sure to win in the run-off vote on May 6. And his opponents are treating his return as more than a well-worn performance by an old entertainer.

    Voters will be summoned to the polls on Sunday, April 22. If, as usual, no candidate wins 50% or more of the vote, the election goes to a second round between the two leading candidates.

    Le Pen confounded the forecasters in the 2002 election to the Elysée Palace, when he beat the socialist, Lionel Jospin, into second place in the first round of voting.

    Socialists belatedly took fright and, to head off Le Pen, reluctantly cast their ballots for the incumbent, Jacques Chirac, in the run-off.

    But this spring Chirac will not be part of the electoral equation. He has bowed out of the Elysee, blowing kisses to “the France I love”.

    News Source: businessday.co.za


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