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France's Le Pen won't endorse anyone for president

 French far-right politician Jean Marie Le Pen, right kisses his daughter, France's far-right National Front candidate for the presidential election M...
 France's far-right National Front candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen, center, with lawyer Gilbert Collard, right, walk toward the ...
 France's far-right National Front candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen, center, delivers her speech at Opera during the traditional ...
 French President and conservative candidate for his re-election in the 2012 French presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy reacts to supporters as he...

France Presidential Election

French far-right politician Jean Marie Le Pen, right kisses his daughter, France's far-right National Front candidate for the presidential election M...

France Presidential Election

France's far-right National Front candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen, center, with lawyer Gilbert Collard, right, walk toward the ...

APTOPIX France Presidential Election

France's far-right National Front candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen, center, delivers her speech at Opera during the traditional ...

France Presidential Election

French President and conservative candidate for his re-election in the 2012 French presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy reacts to supporters as he...

The leader of France's resurgent, anti-immigrant far right, Marine Le Pen, is refusing to endorse either candidate in the country's presidential runoff and said Tuesday she will cast a blank protest ballot.
Le Pen, who came in a strong third place in the first round of voting April 22, told her supporters at a big rally in Paris to "vote according to your conscience."
She assailed conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has borrowed some of Le Pen's rhetoric about immigrants and Muslims in his campaign, accusing him of impoverishing the French and giving up too much sovereignty to the European Union.
Sarkozy has borrowed some of Le Pen's rhetoric about immigrants and Muslims in his campaign, and is hoping to win over the more than 6 million voters who supported her in the second round.
Le Pen threw cold water on Sarkozy's attempts to woo her voters.
"I will cast a blank ballot," she said. "Each one of you will make your choice," she said, while insisting that she herself could not endorse Sarkozy or Socialist challenger Francois Hollande.
Polls favor Hollande. Observers say Le Pen is distancing herself from Sarkozy in hopes of becoming the face of the French opposition under a Socialist leadership.
Le Pen urged her supporters to focus on upcoming parliamentary elections, where she hopes her National Front party wins a presence in the National Assembly for the first time since 1986.
Across town, Sarkozy is holding a campaign rally of his own Tuesday where he is expected to reach out to the far right.
In a radio interview Tuesday morning, he was asked whether France has too many immigrants, and answered, "yes."
"Our system of integration doesn't work. Why? Because before we were able to integrate those who were received on our territory, others arrived. Having taken in too many people, we paralyzed our system of integration," he said on RMC radio.
"I will never argue for zero immigration, but the reality is that when you invite more people than you can handle, you no longer integrate them," he said.
Meanwhile, masses of workers, leftists and union leaders around France are marking May Day with marches and rallies, in a mood of optimism ahead of Sunday's runoff. Marchers protested austerity measures pushed by EU leaders and by Sarkozy.
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Sylvie Corbet, Thibault Leroux and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-02-27 05:38 GMT+08:00