Rising Tensions Mark Final Days of French Legislative Campaign

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French Legislative

With less than 48 hours before the official end of the French legislative campaign, tension is rising. The campaign period ends this Friday, July 5th, at midnight, followed by a media blackout until the first results are announced on Sunday at 8 p.m. In this sense, this inter-round campaign is one of the shortest and most tense ever.

Candidates from every party, meanwhile, have had to endure violence on a scale never before seen. Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, told a television station this morning that 51 candidates or campaign workers had been attacked in the course of this campaign.

An incident took place Wednesday, July 3rd, in the 8th constituency of Hauts-de-Seine, opposing Prisca Thevenot’s team to a candidate from the New Popular Front. The government spokeswoman is in a runoff against this candidate, in this constituency, at the second round of the legislative elections.

That evening, while Thevenot was pasting posters in Meudon with her deputy and a few campaign workers, a group of some ten youths came up to them and attacked them. The stand-off left her deputy wounded in the arm and another campaign worker with a fractured jaw. While Thevenot was not injured, she lodged a complaint on the spot. Four of the alleged attackers were arrested by the police, who responded quickly, but it was unclear whether their motives were political.

The political class unanimously condemned the aggressions on early Thursday. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal expressed his “full solidarity with the candidate and her team.” Marine Tondelier, Secretary-General of Europe Ecology The Greens and one of the leading figures of the NFP, also expressed solidarity with the victims and reminded everyone that “nothing justifies violence.” Also, President of the National Rally Jordan Bardella sent his “full support to [our] candidate Marie Dauchy and to Ms. Thevenot, who were assaulted.”

On another occasion, during an operation to distribute leaflets on Wednesday morning in a La Rochette market in the 3rd Savoie constituency, a man was openly in Dauchy’s face, hostile to Jordan Bardella, threatening her with death at her and trying to literally tear away [her] flying at hand, so much so that she was nearly knocked down twice. This aggression was also immediately denounced by his local opponent from The Republicans.

On that very day, at the 10th constituency in La Chapelle-Heulin, Loire-Atlantique, three campaign workers of the insubordinate candidate Maxime Viancin were hit while doing their door-to-door diffusion: one of the supporters of the National Rally incited people to pursue them in the street before pushing one and punching another of the workers. A complaint is set to be filed.

Soukaina Sghir

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