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Right-winger Ciotti wins 1st round of French conservative party leadership vote

Eric Ciotti (pictured), a right-winger, is now in the poll position to be the next leader of France’s conservative Les Republicains (LR), party. He won a first round ballot from party members on Sunday (4 December).

Ciotti, who has stated that he wants to end what he calls a “migratory invasion” of France, polled 42.7%. He will face Bruno Retailleau (a senator who polled 34.5%) in a second round runoff, LR stated in a statement.

France’s post-war history has been governed by LR and its predecessors.

Ciotti managed to squeeze between the centrist President Emmanuel Macron and the far-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen. However, Valerie Pecresse (LR) won only 4.78% of votes in April’s presidential elections.

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Ciotti tweeted: “I want to become the candidate of hope” and “the return of a large political family on the left”, following Sunday’s election.

Ciotti and Retailleau, whose home is the historically right-wing Nice region but are both politically more to the right than Christian Jacob, the outgoing leader of the LR, are also closer to the right.

LR is still a major force in parliament. However, Macron – who lost the legislative majority in parliament – often depends on the party to get his bills passed.

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