Some in France favor Erdogan for president over victorious Macron and Le Pen

2017/04/24 | 19:35

(Iraq News)- ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron emerged as the top vote-getters in the first round of France’s presidential election on Sunday; however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also written onto some ballots. Photos of French paper ballots emerged on social media platforms with Le Pen’s name scratched off and Erdogan’s written by hand, along with a note in Turkish and a photo of Erdogan.

A Turkish man in France voted for #Erdogan in French Presidential elections.(*Love him so much? GO back to #Turkey and live with him!)

— Foreign Media (@mediaforeign) April 24, 2017

 Eleven candidates were officially on Sunday’s ballot.

Turnout was 78 percent. Le Pen and Macron will square off in a May 7 runoff to decide the next French president. The newcomer Macron has never been elected to a public office.

He founded the En Marche party last year.

He was appointed France’s Minister of the Economy in 2014 and has a background in banking. Le Pen, who is the leader of the National Front, received 21 percent of the vote.

In 2012, she was third in the presidential election with nearly 18 percent of the vote. Marine Le Pen, a member of the European parliament, is the daughter of Jean Marie Le Pen, the long-time National Front leader, who is renowned for his anti-immigration and nationalistic stances.

 Marine Le Pen previously refused to meet with the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Abdul-Latif Derian, a top Sunni Muslim leader after refusing to wear a scarf. “I have no reason to,” she said to reporters in February.

“They did not cancel the meeting, so I thought they would accept that I will not wear the scarf.

… They wanted to impose this on me, to present me with a fait accompli [a thing that has been decided without the input of those who it affects].

Well, no one presents me with a fait accompli.”Critics have said the move was pre-calculated to boost her support among France’s right wing. “This was a trap and a setup because she wanted to send a message to her own voters and supporters that she somehow refused to respect the local customs in a Muslim-majority country,” Al-Jazeera quoted Parisian-based civil liberties activist Yasser Louati who focuses on Islamophobia as saying. In February, outgoing French President Francois Hollande, for the second time, visited the Kurdistan Region. “Here, what you do to allow France to be safe and for the local people, I congratulate you,” Hollande said in a press conference, pledging assistance so that displaced persons can return to their homes and stressing the need for a political solution for Mosul after the military battle “so that the residents can all live together.” France and the Kurdistan Region, whose capital is home to a French consulate general, have a long history of close relations.

Danielle Mitterand, first lady of France in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, advocated for the Kurds suffering under Saddam Hussein’s brutal tactics and was instrumental in campaigning for the no-fly zone that effectively allowed the Kurdistan Region to develop its current autonomy.

She is affectionately known as the Mother of Kurds. 

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