French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen reacts on stage during a campaign meeting on April 17, 2017 in Paris. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD
In a speech Monday, far-right French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen copied comments made two weeks earlier by Francois Fillon, the former frontrunner who was eliminated in the first round of the election, AFP has found.
On April 15, Fillon made a speech in Puy-en-Velay in which he made specific mention of the geography of France’s borders, paid tribute to the French language and spoke of a third “French way” for the 21st century.
At her rally Monday in Villepinte, Le Pen repeated almost verbatim these passages from Fillon’s speech.
Fillon had also quoted from World War I prime minister Georges Clemenceau and writer Andre Malraux.
In her speech ahead of Sunday’s second round run-off, Le Pen also used the same quotes.
Asked by AFP about the apparent plagiarism, Florian Philippot, deputy chairman of Le Pen’s National Front party, said it was “a nod to a short passage in a speech about France” on the part of “a candidate that shows she is not sectarian”.