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Published: Sun, March 05, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Marine Le Pen loses immunity over IS tweets

Marine Le Pen loses immunity over IS tweets

Far-right leader Le Pen's legal woes also deepened as the European Parliament lifted her immunity to allow her to be prosecuted for retweeting images of Islamic State atrocities.

With a financial scandal plaguing conservative candidate Francois Fillon, Macron, a former investment banker running as an independent centrist, is favored to win the unpredictable race in a May runoff against far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

The tweets drew criticism and anger from some French politicians and led a prosecutor in Paris to request Le Pen's immunity be stripped.

The allegations against Fillon are particularly damaging after he campaigned as a sleaze-free reformer ready to administer a "radical" economic overhaul and cut wasteful public spending.

Ms Le Pen has consistently topped polls for the first round of voting although it is thought her opponent would be able to unify opposition against her in the decider.

Moreover, she said in a newspaper interview that she was "never involved in my husband's political life".

On Wednesday, he again said the investigation had been directed against him and that "the presumption of innocence has entirely and completely disappeared".

Le Pen has denied the accusations outright.

The gathering on an esplanade overlooking the Eiffel Tower is meant to be a show of force, though many officials from the Republican party have said they won't be attending. "Le Pen has been asked to pay back more than $320,000 to the European Parliament because two of her aides in Brussels were actually working for her campaign in France", The Two-Way previously reported.

Le Pen is suspected of having signed contracts to have her cabinet chief and her bodyguard paid as European Union parliament assistants without them working in the parliament.

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macros is not only consolidating his gain against center-right candidate Françios Fillon but according to the Odoxa poll, he already leads the first round.

Le Pen has also said she would look to remove France from the Euro, creating a "new franc" which she claims would help France retain control of its borders.

And so he knows, when he unexpectedly cancels an appearance at one of the calendar's most important electoral events and calls a last-minute press conference, it will grab attention: he knows it's the knife that France is watching.

Henri de Castries - a former CEO of the Axa insurance firm - said Fillon should remain in the race because he had "legitimacy" from his clear victory over Alain Juppe in November's nominating contest.

The always-packed agriculture fair was less kind to Macron, the 39-year-old former French economy minister who got hit on the head with a raw egg.

He has capitalised on it heavily, unveiling a string of policies to clean up French politics including a ban on MPs employing family members.

An Opinionway poll released on Wednesday but conducted before the day's drama put Le Pen on 25 percent in the first round vote on April 23 and Macron on 24 percent, taking first and second places respectively.

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