Feminist icon of French left drops out of presidential race

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Christiane Taubira; Politics; France; Europe
Christiane Taubira

A French feminist who is a champion of minority groups and an icon of the left said she is dropping out of France’s presidential race.

Christiane Taubira said during a news conference on Wednesday she won’t be able to collect the 500 endorsements from elected officials that are required under French law to run for president.

The rule is intended to limit the number of candidates seeking election.

With 181 endorsements, Ms Taubira, a former justice minister and a latecomer to the race, was unlikely to meet the requirement before the scheduled deadline on Friday.

Polls had shown Ms Taubira having marginal support in the lead up to France’s presidential election, which is scheduled to take place in two rounds on April 10 and 24.

She represented France in the European Union parliament during the 1990s, and championed a 2001 French law that recognised the slave trade as a crime against humanity.

In 2002, Ms Taubira became the first black woman to seek the French presidency and received 2.3% of the vote.

Other left-wing candidates managed to meet the endorsements requirement, including far-left figure Jean-Luc Melenchon, Green contender Yannick Jadot, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who is the Socialist contender, and Fabien Roussel, who is running for the Communist Party.

Two far-right hopefuls in this year’s race also feared they might have to bow out. But the most recent count by the Constitutional Council, which validates endorsements, put Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour above the 500 mark.

The names of elected officials who endorse presidential candidates have been made public since 2017, making local officials wary of sponsoring candidates with extremist views.

President Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, was the first to receive the needed number of endorsements. He is expected to formally declare his candidacy for re-election in the coming days.

Polls show Mr Macron as the front-runner in the April election. Conservative candidate Valérie Pécresse, Le Pen and Zemmour, are the main challengers.

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