Prosecutors’ interventions in the French election have so far done more damage to the establishment’s one-time champion than the nationalist firebrand vowing to overthrow the system.
The Republican Francois Fillon and National Front leader Marine Le Pen both say the criminal probes they face are political plots against them, but it’s only Fillon, a church-going 62-year-old former prime minister, who has been set back by the allegations. Le Pen’s suspected misuse of her allowance from the European Parliament hasn’t hurt her at all.
“The National Front is seen as persecuted by the system so their supporters think that if everyone else has gotten rich of the system, it’s good for them to get some of that money back,” said Jean-Yves Camus, a political scientist linked to the Jean Jaures research institute. “Fillon tried to use the conspiracy angle but it doesn’t work because he’s from the system.”
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