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French Presidential Candidate Fillon Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Cartoon of a Rival

  • VOA News

FILE - French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, waves as he arrives to deliver his speech during a rally in Orleans, central France, Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

France's troubled conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon has apologized for his party's anti-Semitic tweet of rival Emmanuel Macron.

"The political battle is tough enough, but it must remain dignified," Fillon said Sunday. "I will not tolerate my party publishing caricatures that use the codes of anti-Semitic propaganda."

Fillon said he has always fought against such thinking and has asked Republican party officials to take action against whomever was responsible.

The image tweeted Friday shows Macron with a hooked nose, a top hot, and cutting a cigar with a red sickle.

France's Vichy government which collaborated with the Nazis were notorious for using such cartoons during World War II.

Allegations of anti-Semitism is the latest of Fillon's problems.

He was once favored to win the French presidency, but now trials Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

His once thriving campaign has been damaged by a financial scandal in which he is accused of paying his wife huge sums of public money for a phony job as a parliamentary assistant.

Fillon has denied wrongdoing.

The French newspaper Journal du Dimanche also reports Fillon accepted a gift of two suits from an exclusive French clothing shop which far exceeds the legal limit of donations for presidential candidates.

The first round of the election is set for April 23, followed by a runoff for the top two finishers two weeks later.

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