MARINE LE PEN, the far-Right party leader whose supporters hold the key to Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential re-election hopes in France, yesterday hinted that she would support him if in turn he promised not to block the National Front (NF) in parliamentary elections.
Mr Sarkozy, and to a lesser extent his Socialist rival Francois Hollande, have been actively courting Ms Le Pen's supporters since she came third in Sunday's presidential first round.
Trailing Mr Hollande by 10 points in polls before a May 6 run-off, Mr Sarkozy has said NF voters should not be "demonised" and has dubbed Ms Le Pen "compatible with the Republic".
The far-Right leader yesterday challenged Mr Sarkozy to clarify his position regarding her party in parliamentary polls in June.
The NF hopes to win its first seats in parliament since 1986.
"In a run-off between the National Front and a Socialist, would the UMP and the president prefer to have one of my deputies or a Socialist elected?" Ms Le Pen asked.
"I still don't have an answer to that question. I'm waiting," she said, when asked who she might back. "How I express myself will depend on the response."
Mr Hollande has accused Mr Sarkozy of boosting the far Right by matching its hardline stance on immigration, security and protectionism. (© Daily Telegraph, London)