France's Le Pen says backs neither Sarkozy nor Hollande

AFP , Tuesday 1 May 2012

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen says no confidence in other contenders for the French presidency, urges her supporters to cast blank ballots

France's far-right National Front candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen, left, with her father Jean Marie le Pen at right, delivers her speech at Opera during the traditional May Day march in Paris, (Photo: AP).

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen told supporters Tuesday that she would back neither incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy nor Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande in Sunday's French presidential run-off.

"I will give neither my confidence, nor a mandate to these two candidates," Le Pen told a crowd in Paris. Although she said it was up to her supporters to make their own choice, she strongly suggested they cast blank ballots.

"I have made my choice -- each of you, each of us, will make their own."

In an hour-long speech, Le Pen vaunted her National Front's success in the April 22 first-round vote, in which she scored a record 18 percent, and slammed Sarkozy and Hollande for "betraying" French values.

"We are celebrating our extraordinary result in the presidential election," she said. "We imposed our issues on this election. We have become the centre of gravity of French political life."

"This movement we have launched cannot be stopped, our victory is inevitable," she said.

"Nothing will ever be the same again," Le Pen said. "Our historic battle is only beginning... we still have much to do."

She said her party was "alone in defending the French republic in this political landscape."

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