Candidate from Macron's party pulls out of Paris mayor race

After sex video leaked, 'vile attacks' says Griveaux

14 February, 15:58

    Paris mayoral candidate of the République En Marche, Benjamin Griveaux, withdrew from the race on Friday Paris mayoral candidate of the République En Marche, Benjamin Griveaux, withdrew from the race on Friday

    PARIS - Paris mayoral candidate of the République En Marche (Republic on the Move) party under president Emmanuel Macron, Benjamin Griveaux, withdrew from the race on Friday after a sex video featuring him was leaked. The municipal elections will be held in March.

    Griveaux lashed out at the ''vile attacks'' in a short statement declaring that he was pulling out of the race. "A website and social networks have launched vile attacks concerning my private life. My family does not deserve this. No one should ever be subjected to such abuse," Griveaux said, noting that he did not intend to continue to expose his family to 'no-holds-barred' attacks. Griveaux added that ''this is going too far'' and that his priority remained his family, no matter what the decision might cost him. "For more than a year, my family and I have been subjected to defamatory remarks, lies, rumours, anonymous attacks, the revelation of stolen private conversations and death threats," he said.

    ''As if this was not enough, yesterday a new level was reached," said Griveaux. The 42-year-old former Socialist was one of the first supporters of the movement that in 2017 led to Macron becoming president but saw his chance to become mayor significantly lowered after a move by Cédric Villani, the other 'dissident' candidate of the same party that split pro-Macron voters into two. Municipal elections are held in France in two rounds: March 15 and 22. According to a Odoxa-CGI poll conducted for Le Figaro, Griveaux was in third position with 16% after incumbent socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo (23%) and Républicains candidate Rachida Dati (20%). His withdrawal from the race is a blow to Macron, who was strongly supporting his candidature. The video was leaked by Russian dissident artist Piotr Pavlenski, who said that he had got it from a 'source' that was involved with Griveaux and that he had put it online to 'denounce the hypocrisy' of the politician, leading to angry reactions on the French political scene. Villani called it a ''threat to democracy'' and many said it was an example of ''mudslinging'' in a ''disturbing environment''. Hidalgo called for ''respect for the private life'' of politicians and France Insoumise party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon said that ''we reject the voyeuristic shipwreck of the country's public life. No, these blows are not allowed''.

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