Le Pen has signatures for candidacy

14th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 14, 2007 (AFP) - Jean-Marie Le Pen, veteran leader of the French far-right, is sure of having the 500 sponsorships needed in order to stand in next month's presidential election, the National Front (FN) party said Wednesday.

PARIS, March 14, 2007 (AFP) - Jean-Marie Le Pen, veteran leader of the French far-right, is sure of having the 500 sponsorships needed in order to stand in next month's presidential election, the National Front (FN) party said Wednesday.

FN secretary general Louis Aliot said Le Pen, 78, would in person deliver the last sponsorship forms later in the day to the offices of the Constitutional Council, the body in charge of running the election.

Under rules designed to weed out frivolous candidacies, challengers for the French presidency must have the public backing of 500 out of some 42,000 elected officials, including the country's 36,500 mayors as well as parliamentary deputies and local and regional councillors.

The deadline is March 16.

Le Pen, who founded the far-right National Front in 1972, has been a candidate in every election since 1974 -- except in 1981 when he failed to obtain the 500 signatures.

Last week the right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy said it would be "undemocratic" if Le Pen -- as well as candidates from the far-left -- were excluded from the vote.

Le Pen was runner-up in 2002, when he won 16.86 percent of the first-round vote, ahead of the socialist Lionel Jospin. An Ipsos poll Wednesday gave him 13 percent of the first-round vote on April 22.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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