FRENCH far-right leader Marine Le Pen has obtained the 500 signatures from elected officials necessary to formalise her bid for the presidency.
Ms Le Pen had warned that a stigma against her anti-immigrant National Front party might keep her from getting the signatures needed to join the race.
Such a scenario would have boosted conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is struggling in his race for a second term.
But National Front spokesman Alain Vizier said today that Ms Le Pen has the necessary signatures of mayors and other local officials who back her bid.
Ms Le Pen announced on Twitter that "the system that wanted to prevent me has just lost a battle".
The deadline for submitting the signatures is Friday.
The elections are being held in two rounds - on April 22 and May 6.