French Republicans’ Ciotti Wing to Field 62 Candidates in Vote

(Bloomberg) -- The Eric Ciotti wing of the French Republican party, which has formed a pact with the far-right National Rally, will field just 62 candidates in the first round of the French legislative elections.

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Ciotti, whose leadership of the Republicans was contested by other members of his party after he joined forces with Marine Le Pen’s group, confirmed that figure in an interview on France 2 television. His alliance’s candidate number is a fraction of the about 400 out of 577 seats that Le Monde says will be contested by the rest of the Republicans.

Ciotti won a court ruling on Friday that suspended efforts to oust him as president of the party. The bitter infighting within the party of conservative past presidents Charles de Gaulle, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy has driven the group to a new low. The Republicans have seen their fortunes fade over recent years, squeezed by President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist group and the rise of the National Rally.

Ciotti justified his decision to form an alliance with Le Pen’s group, saying it was to “fight the double menace of the extreme left and the powerlessness of Macron.”

“Can we do nothing? Can we stay immobile,” he asked.

Macron dissolved the National Assembly on June 9 and called a new vote after his group was trounced by Le Pen’s party in European Parliament elections.

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