Martes, 26 Marcha, 2019

EU has no 'Plan B' if French voters deliver upset

French campaign ends in uncertainty and fear EU has no 'Plan B' if French voters deliver upset
Eleena Tovar | 23 Abril, 2017, 08:55

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has accused far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen of exploiting the death of a police officer for "political gain" following an attack in Paris on Thursday.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting late on Thursday of a French policeman on the Champs Elysees by a French national who lived in Paris.

Le Pen, who said on Friday that the fight against terrorism "must" be France's "absolute priority" and has advocated for strict immigration control, has been steadily rising in French polls as her center-right opponent, Francois Fillon, battles corruption charges.

As of Friday morning local time, leading candidates François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen had all canceled campaign events, with Macron citing the extra burden policing political rallies placed on the security services.

Election stations opened on Saturday in French overseas territories that are voting first in France's unpredictable presidential election - one day earlier than on the mainland.

First, President Donald Trump described the shooting as a "terrorist attack" less than one hour after it occurred, before local law enforcement had made any statement about motive one way or another.

The European project will face its next test on Sunday, as the people of France head to the polls to participate in the first round of the French presidential elections.

Le Pen has campaigned on a promise to curtail immigration and withdraw from the Schengen Borders Agreement, putting France's involvement in the European Union in jeopardy. The most benign would be a scenario where neither Le Pen nor Melenchon advance.

The candidate certainly seemed to enjoy a brief courtesy call with former President Barack Obama; so much so that he posted a video of it online.

"There are probably, possible accomplices that need to be arrested which is why I won't give you additional details", he said. "Thus, of course, it is important whether Marin Le Pen comes to power, but even if she doesn't, the National Front's influence across the country will persist", she concluded.

Cazeneuve also criticised conservative candidate Francois Fillon, who reiterated a pledge to create 10,000 new police jobs.

The attack unfolded on the famed Champs-Elysees around 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) when a auto stopped in front of a police van, according to French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet.

The campaign has been dogged throughout by scandals, gaffes and surprises.

CNN's Paris correspondent Melissa Bell said the suspect was Fiches S pays into Le Pen's rhetoric.

Le Pen repeated calls for a crackdown on radical Islam, which Macron pronounced "nonsense".

French voters elect a president in a two-round vote on April 23 and May 7.

Trump also told AP that a tax reform package would be unveiled next week and would include a "massive tax cut" for businesses and individuals, "bigger I believe than any tax cut ever", the President said. But he lost ground after being charged over accusations that he put his wife Penelope on the public payroll for a fictitious job as his parliamentary assistant, for which she was paid almost €700,000 ($750,000).