French presidential hopeful relaunches bid after ‘anti-Semitic’ cartoon

French presidential hopeful relaunches bid after ‘anti-Semitic’ cartoon

Francois Fillon presented a new version of his campaign platform, amid accusations he used anti-Semitic overtones on a cartoon

François Fillon
François Fillon

Conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has presented a new version of his campaign platform in an effort to claw back support amid a series of controversies and corruption allegations.

Mr Fillon was put on the defensive again in recent days after his conservative party posted a caricature of a rival candidate that carried anti-Semitic overtones and a newspaper raised questions about expensive suits he received as a gift.

The caricature, which evoked the stereotyped cartoons that were used to demonise Jews in the 1930s and 1940s, pictured the candidate as a banker with a hooked nose, wearing a top hat, holding a sickle and cutting a cigar.

Mr Macron is not Jewish.

The candidate himself announced that he was summoned to appear before judges on Wednesday in the ongoing investigation of whether he allegedly used taxpayers’ money to pay family members for jobs that may not have existed.

Once considered the front-runner in the election, which will run from April 23 to May 7, Mr Fillon now lags in polls behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.

An official with the Republicans party is facing disciplinary procedures over the online caricature of Mr Macron, a former banker.

Mr Fillon called it “unacceptable” and said it “evoked a dark epoch of our history”, referring to France’s collaboration with the Nazis.


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