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

December 05, 2022

PARIS: Right-winger Eric Ciotti is in poll position to become the next leader of France’s formerly heavyweight conservative Les Republicains (LR) party after winning a first round ballot of party members on Sunday.

Ciotti, who is on record as saying he wants to stop what he calls a “migratory invasion” of France, polled 42.7% and will face Bruno Retailleau, a senator who polled 34.5%, in a second-round runoff, LR said in a statement.

LR or its predecessors have governed France for much of its post-war history. However, squeezed between centrist President Emmanuel Macron on one side and the far-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen on the other, the LR candidate in April’s presidential election, Valerie Pecresse, won just 4.78% of the votes.