Sarkozy party activist assaulted by Front National supporter ahead of parliamentary decider
France’s mainstream right UMP party has condemned a physical assault on one of its members by a supporter of the Front National (FN) in the southern constituency where the party’s candidate has refused to stand down in favour of the far-right movement.
Eline Enrique-Bouzanquet was knocked to the ground and kicked by a man shouting racist insults outside her home in Saint Dionisy in the Var region on Wednesday evening.
Her attacker complained that UMP candidate Etienne Mourut was standing in a second-round three-way decider in Sunday’s parliamentary elections against FN candidate Gilbert Collard and Socialist Katy Guyot.
Enrique-Bouzanquet features on the ballot paper as Mourut’s substitute, meaning that she would take his seat if he was elected but had to stop fulfilling a deputy’s functions.
Collard has condemned the attack “without reservation”, claiming that he has been subject to threats during the campaign.
UMP secretary general Jean-François Copé, an advocate of the party’s refusal to back either Socialist or FN candidates in the second round, on Thursday described it as “intolerable”.
“That someone can behave as he did, attacking a woman candidate, threatening her, insulting her, shows how important it is to call for calm and condemn a climate of violence that is inadmissible in a democracy like ours,” Copé said.
Collard was tipped as one of four candidates from Marine Le Pen's party who could win seats in the National Assembly in this year’s election after he won 34.57 per cent in last weekend’s first round of voting. Guyot won 32.87 per cent and Morrut 23.89 per cent.
The UMP candidate took his time deciding not to withdraw, leading to accusations that he was siding with the FN against the Socialists.
Socialist Party number two Harlem Désir on Thursday accused the UMP of hatching behind-the-scenes deals with the FN in several constituencies, naming three where FN candidates had stood down “with the UMP’s blessing”.