France's Melenchon says has endorsements for presidential run


 Reuters International

FILE PHOTO: Politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, of the French far-left Parti de Gauche, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Chassieu, near Lyon, France, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot/File Photo

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PARIS (Reuters) - France's far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon said on Saturday he had secured the 500 endorsements from elected officials needed in order to run in the election.

"We have our 500 sponsors!" Melenchon tweeted. The European parliamentarian, whose "Indomitable France" grouping is backed by the country's Communist party, had reached 432 signed endorsements from lawmakers and mayors on Friday, according to France's constitutional court.

Former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, National Front leader Marine Le Pen, centre-right candidate Francois Fillon and Socialist Benoit Hamon are among seven other candidates who have met the endorsements requirement ahead of a March 17 deadline.

Melenchon and Hamon failed to reach agreement last month on a possible alliance last month that could have averted a split in the left-wing vote.

Both are likely to be eliminated in the April 23 first round, polls suggest. Melenchon would come fifth with 11.5 percent of voting intentions, according to the latest BVA survey on Saturday, with Hamon on 13.5 percent.

Macron, tied with Le Pen at 26 percent, would beat the far-right leader in the May 7 run-off vote, the poll said.

(Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Helen Popper)

Reuters

 Reuters International