Le Pen clears elections obstacle

The far-right candidate can officially enter next month's presidential elections.

    Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the National Front, had difficulties getting the necessary signatures [AP] 
    Under French electoral law, candidates need at least 500 of France's 42,000 elected representatives, including parliamentarians and mayors, to contest the ballot.
    Hunt for signatures
    So far, seven candidates have enough signatures to run, including conservative frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy, Socialist Segolene Royal and rising centrist Francois Bayrou.
    Despite gaining 16.8 per cent in 2002, a score that saw him through to a run-off ballot won by incumbent Jacques Chirac, Le Pen's National Front has no mayors and party workers have been forced to search across France in the hunt for signatures.
    Smaller parties have accused the mainstream parties of seeking to shut them out of the election to avoid a repeat of 2002 when are record 16 candidates helped dilute the vote for leading candidates and push Lionel Jospin, Socialist candidate and then prime minister, out of the race.
    The Socialists and the ruling UMP party ordered their mayors not to sponsor rivals and independent officials say they faced heavy pressure to shun extremists.
    Sponsorship of a candidate is not necessarily an expression of support and could simply mean they recognise the candidate represents a legitimate strand of opinion.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months