The Cable

Allegations and Investigations and Polls, Oh Mon!

Things take un twist in the French election campaign.


Call it a February surprise.

French presidential elections are still two months away, but revelations and allegations are coming out as though it were Oct. 28 2016 all over again.

First, there are the new allegations against far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen. Le Pen dismissed charges that she had used European Parliament funds to pay for staff for her National Front Party. Nevertheless, following a day of questioning, her chief of staff, Catherine Griset, was put under investigation on Wednesday.

Then, on Monday, former National Front aid Gael Nofri said that, the party tried to use a fake European Parliament contract when he was recruited to work for Le Pen’s campaign team in 2012. This, if true, would have allowed Nofri to work for the National Front without the party declaring his salary as campaign spending — he would have shown up as a European Parliament employee.

Le Pen has said the allegations are politically motivated. She has also has said that, if elected, she will hold a referendum for the French to vote on whether they want to remain in the EU.

But Le Pen is not the only candidate fending off accusations. Center-right candidate François Fillon, accused of using roughly one million euros in French parliamentary funds to pay his wife and children for jobs they did not actually do, was put under official investigation on Friday.

Fillon had previously said he would drop out of the race if he was put under official investigation. Yet Fillon is not dropping out of the race.

Despite all this, French voters who do not want Le Pen, who is currently expected to make it into the second round of voting, are calm. Why? Because center-left, independent candidate Emmanuel Macron would beat Le Pen in the second round of voting according to polls.

If, after everything that happened in 2016, and all the twists and turns the French election has seen so far in 2017, the French still trust in polls — if that is indeed the case, it would perhaps be the most shocking revelation of all.

Photo credit: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

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