French far right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is gaining ground in the polls.
French far right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is gaining ground in the polls. Hussein Malla

Cops seek evidence as Le Pen rises

SEARCHES of the offices of France's far-right National Front have been labelled a media stunt intended to influence the presidential election.

Part of an investigation into "fake jobs”, the searches on Monday came after a poll showed leader Marine Le Pen (pictured) gaining ground on her main election rivals, independent Emmanuel Macron and conservative former prime minister Francois Fillon.

On Friday, Ms Le Pen denied allegations by the European Union anti-fraud agency that she gave parliamentary assistants fake jobs paid for from EU funds. France had opened an investigation in December.

National Front vice- president Florian Philippot told BFM television "this is as void as space”, adding that searches a year ago had found nothing.

"These are media-stunt searches on the day when she gets a two-point bounce in the polls. It's always when the system is in panic that these affairs come out,” he said.



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