French far-right candidate Le Pen copies Fillon speech
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French far-right candidate Le Pen copies Fillon speech

National Front head repeats ex-candidate’s comments in ‘a nod to a short passage… that shows she is not sectarian’

French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen (C), flanked by former French presidential election candidate for the right-wing Debout la France (DLF) party Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (L), gestures at the end of her meeting at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte, on May 1, 2017. (AFP/Alain Jocard)
French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen (C), flanked by former French presidential election candidate for the right-wing Debout la France (DLF) party Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (L), gestures at the end of her meeting at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte, on May 1, 2017. (AFP/Alain Jocard)

PARIS, France — 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.

French presidential election candidate for the right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party, Francois Fillon delivers a statement to the press at his campaign headquarters in Paris on April 21, 2017. (Patrick KOVARIK / AFP)
French presidential election candidate for the right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party, Francois Fillon delivers a statement to the press at his campaign headquarters in Paris on April 21, 2017. (Patrick KOVARIK / AFP)

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.”

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