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French far-right candidates secure necessary signatures for presidential run

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By Lauren Chadwick
French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen (left); Eric Zemmour (right)
French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen (left); Eric Zemmour (right)   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michel Euler, File (left); AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File (right)   -  

French far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour passed the threshold of 500 signatures on Tuesday, a procedural step that allows them to officially run in April's presidential election.

Le Pen had suspended her field campaign to convince mayors and politicians to sponsor her candidacy, as politicians across the spectrum called on elected officials to sponsor the main candidates.

By Tuesday, Eric Zemmour had received 620 sponsorships and Marine Le Pen had 503, according to the list published by France's Constitutional Council.

Candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who had previously supported Le Pen in 2017, also gathered the required number of political signatures to run for president.

There are now eleven candidates who can officially run in the first round of the presidential election on 10 April. The cut-off date for the sponsorships is 4 March at 6:00 pm.

Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron, who has not yet formally announced his candidacy, has the second-highest number of support after right-wing candidate Valérie Pécresse.

Macron is currently polling higher than the other candidates and is largely expected to officialise his presidential candidacy soon.

France's Prime Minister Jean Castex had urged politicians last week to give their signature to candidates, emphasising that sponsorship was not a "synonym for political support" but rather a democratic act.

One of Macron's allies, François Bayrou, ended up sponsoring Marine Le Pen, telling RTL on Sunday that he couldn't defend an election in which "the main candidates would be excluded."

Bayrou had organised a reserve of elected officials to sponsor main election candidates, emphasising that their signatures did not equal political support.

Around 42,000 elected officials are eligible to sponsor presidential candidates.