For a French candidate to run for president he or she must first get the signatures of 500 elected officials. Jean-Marie Le Pen, a far-right National Front candidate who surprised many by making it to the second round of voting in the 2002 presidential election, has revealed that he is still short on the required number of signatures. His subsequent request that the signatures be kept secret, a move that would likely increase his number of supporters, has been dismissed by French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.
Even if he makes it onto the ballot, Le Pen will likely play a marginal role in the 2007 election. In 2002 the left split the vote amongst several candidates, paving the way for his upset in the first round. This season the left has more or less coalesced around Socialist Segolene Royal and UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy is polling strong in hypothetical first-round votes, so Le Pen will have little chance, barring a major fracture on either side of the spectrum.
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