‘It’s not over’: Marine Le Pen concedes defeat but vows to carry on the fight

Defeated far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen vowed on Sunday night that she would not abandon the French people after losing out to Emmanuel Macron in the second round vote.

'It's not over': Marine Le Pen concedes defeat but vows to carry on the fight
French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) presidential candidate Marine Le Pen delivers a speech at the Pavillon d'Armenonville in Paris on April 24, 2022 after the announcement of the first projections by polling firms of the French presidential election's second round results. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

Losing candidate Marine Le Pen gave a speech to supporters some 15 minutes after the projected result was announced and after she had called Emmanuel Macron to concede defeat.

Defiant Le Pen, the head of the far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally) party thanked the millions of voters who had backed her to be president of France whilst attacking the victorious candidate.

In front of cheering supports she said the fact that around 43 percent of voters backed her represented a “brilliant victory”.

“In this defeat I can feel hope,” she said in front of supporters who chanted “Marine! Marine!”

French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) presidential candidate Marine Le Pen (R) is applauded by supporters as she embraces her mother Pierrette in Paris, on April 24, 2022, following the announcement of the results of the second round of the French presidential election. – French President Emmanuel Macron was on course to win a second term by defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in presidential elections, projections showed. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

“I fear the five years to come will not break with the brutal five years we have had. I will continue my commitment to France and the French.

“It’s not over.”

She said the “historic score” showed the defiance of the French people towards French and European leaders.

Le Pen said she would never abandon the French people and said she would lead the campaign for the parliamentary elections. She had previously talked about resigning and leaving politics if she lost this election. 

Speaking about the winner she said: “I fear Emmanuel Macron will do nothing to repair the fractures that divide our country.”

She finished her speech by starting a rendition of the French national anthem with her supporters joining in.

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France’s Le Pen ordered to stand trial in EU funding scandal

French prosecutors on Friday ordered far-right figurehead Marine Le Pen to stand trial over claims she used EU funds to finance party activities in France.

France's Le Pen ordered to stand trial in EU funding scandal

The former presidential candidate will in March be joined by 26 other members of the Rassemblement National (RN) party in the dock, all accused of setting up a system for embezzling EU money to hire staff in France.

The fake jobs inquiry began in 2015, with prosecutors alleging that starting in 2004, National Front (as the party was then called) MEPs including Le Pen took part in the fake jobs scheme.

The accused include Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the co-founder of what became France’s most successful far-right party.

The party itself, as a legal entity, is suspected of receiving illicit funds, and of complicity in fraud.

Marine Le Pen was runner-up to Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 and 2022 presidential elections and could have another go in 2027. She was president of her party until 2021, and now leads its parliamentary group.

The charges against her are embezzlement and collusion in fraud.

The decision to go to trial was taken by two investigating magistrates from France’s financial crimes prosecuting unit.

The group is accused of using EU parliamentary funds to pay for assistants who in fact worked for the Rassemblement National party.

Le Pen, who stepped down as an MEP in 2017 after her election to the French parliament, has denied the claims.

The charges carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to double the alleged funds embezzled.

If convicted, the court could also declare Le Pen ineligible for office for up to 10 years – threatening her plan to make a fourth run for the French presidency.

The EU Parliament estimated in 2018 that €6.8 million had been embezzled from 2009 to 2017.