February 5. 2023. 5:29

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Far-right turn sends Pécresse’s presidential campaign into a tailspin

French conservative party Les Républicains (LR) presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse leaves at the end of her speech at the Zénith in Paris, last Sunday. Photograph: Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images

The conservative candidate in the French presidential election campaign, Valérie Pécresse, was believed to pose the most serious threat to Emmanuel Macron’s re-election, because like him she can tap into votes from a broad section of the electorate. She was long tied for second place in polls with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

But last week, three stalwarts from Pécresse’s party, Les Républicains (LR), deserted. The former cabinet ministers Éric Woerth and Christian Estrosi endorsed Macron, while Guillaume Peltier, the former number two in LR, joined the far right-wing candidate Éric Zemmour, who promptly made Peltier his spokesman.

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