Left-wing nationalist Chevenement quits French race
Former French defence minister and Socialist Party nationalist Jean-Pierre Chevenement dropped out of the presidential race on Wednesday, with the latest polls showing him with zero percent of the vote.
AFP - Former defence minister and left-wing nationalist Jean-Pierre Chevenement dropped out of the French presidential race on Wednesday, having failed to make any progress in the polls.
The latest opinion polls show Chevenement at zero percent, so his decision may have little effect on the outcome, but it nevertheless represents a boost for opposition Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande.
Hollande is favourite to unseat President Nicolas Sarkozy in the vote, which begins with a first round on April 22 and ends with a run-off on May 6, but he has had to keep one eye behind him on dissident left-wing candidates.
Chevenement, 72, was once a Socialist Party insider and close ally of the last Socialist president, Francois Mitterrand, but he left to found his own eurosceptic and protectionist Republican Citizens' Movement.
If he had stayed in the race and repeated the first round score he achieved in the 2002 poll -- 5.3 percent -- he could have damaged Hollande's chances.
"Having been able, as far as possible, to play the educational role that I set myself, and no longer having the means to continue my campaign, I have decided to withdraw my presidential candidacy," Chevenement said.
He said he would continue to speak out on "Republican issues" and repeated his call for a "less expensive currency than the euro" to help boost French manufacturing exports.
Hollande welcomed Chevenement's "wise decision".