Paris attack could influence undecided voters in presidential election


PARIS, APR 21, (DNA) – Even before French President Francois Hollande said he was convinced the Paris attack was “terrorist related” it had impacted on the effort to find his replacement.Several candidates announced they were ending their campaigns early as a mark of respect, with the centre right’s Francois Fillon calling on others to do the same.

But Mr Fillon, who has taken a hard-line stance on security will be keenly aware the events of Thursday night could play to his advantage.

National safety and the threat from Islamic extremism have been potent issues during the presidential contest and voters may look again to the candidate they think is most likely to protect them.

That Islamic State claimed it was behind the attack will likely feed into the narrative of the far right’s Marine Le Pen who has promised to strengthen France’s borders and crack down on illegal immigration.

Just days ago police in Marseille found guns and bomb-making equipment after arresting two men suspected of planning an “imminent and violent attack” ahead of the first round of the presidential election.

The men were said to be French nationals who had been radicalised and were believed to have links to IS.

Such developments will likely loom large in the minds of the one third of French voters who still haven’t decided who to vote for come Sunday.=DNA