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France

Villepin needs 'miracle' to qualify for presidential election

AFP/Jean-François Monier

Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin says only a miracle will allow him to stand in the upcoming presidential election after he failed to garner the 500 signatures needed by the 16 March deadline to qualify as a candidate. Villepin was standing as a candidate for his centre-right République solidaire party. 

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Speaking in an interview on the France 2 tv channel on Thursday evening, he said he still lacked around 30 signatures, and given the difficulty in obtaining the backing of local French officials he doubted he would be able to make up the shortfall ahead of the deadline.

“It is without a doubt easier for an non-conformist or extreme candidate to obtain the 500 signatures “ he said. “This is no doubt less of a risk for mayors than to give their backing to a former prime minister.”

For some, Villepin’s failure to qualify as a candidate comes a no surprise. He led a lacklustre campaign which saw him never rise higher than two per cent in the polls and his campaign was dogged by the jumping ship of several high-profile supporters.

Although it is highly unlikely Villepin will be a candidate in the election, he has so far refused to say which candidate he will now back.

Villepin came to international attention as foreign minister with his opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq which culminated with a well-received speech to the United Nation in New York.

Other presidential hopefuls who have dropped out of the race include Jean-Louis Borloo of the Radical Party, Christine Boutin of the Christian Democrat Party and Hervé Morin of the Centre Right Party.
 

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