French judges urge EU Parliament to lift Le Pen´s immunity

A combination picture shows five candidates for the French 2017 presidential election, from L-R, Francois Fillon, the Republicans political party candidate, Benoit Hamon, French Socialist party candidate, Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader, Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche!

"There are 10,000 people with a "Fiche S" status linked to the Islamist fundamentalists [in France]..."

Speaking to France info radio earlier on Friday, Le Pen said the judge's request was "a normal procedure".

"I plan to undertake all necessary measures in regard to all those suspected of having ties with terror, expel them from France if they are foreigners or strip them of French citizenship if they have double citizenship to have the chance to expel them after that, or carefully monitor them if they are French citizens", the candidate said.

Polls have consistently shown Le Pen as one of the favourites to get through the April 23 first round and contest the May 7 runoff.

Their request is unlikely to be approved by European lawmakers before the two-round presidential election.

Last month, the European Parliament suspended Le Pen immunity in another inquiry in relation with tweeting images of Islamic State violence. Opinion polls show that, should he reach the second round, he could win against Fillon or Le Pen.

A worker removes a graffiti outside French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's campaign headquarters, Thursday April 13, 2017 in Paris.

Le Pen has denounced since the beginning a "political operation", mounted in particular, according to her, by former European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

Le Pen, who has denied misusing parliamentary funds, shrugged off the move, saying it was "normal".

She enjoys immunity from prosecution as a European Parliament member.

Le Pen's bodyguard Thierry Legier was also questioned by investigators but was not charged.

That made the most likely second-round scenario one that pits Ms. Le Pen against Mr. Macron.

Such a move by France - an economic powerhouse and founding member of the European Union - could kill the bloc.

Friday's Le Monde poll had Mr. Macron beating Mr. Melenchon with 55% of the second-round vote, but it said Mr. Melenchon would beat Mr. Fillon and Ms. Le Pen, with the 65 year-old winning 60% in each case.

Facebook and French media are also running fact-checking programs in France to combat misleading information, especially around the presidential campaign.

  • Leroy Wright