TODAY was supposed to be a moment for candidates in the French presidential election to go into overdrive ahead of first-round voting on April 23rd. Strict electoral rules ordinarily shut down campaigning at midnight. But last night’s fatal shooting of a policeman on the capital’s symbolic main avenue, the Champs-Elysées, has brought an abrupt early end to the campaign. The gunman, who opened fire on a police van with an automatic weapon, was shot by the police as he fled. French news reports named him as Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old French citizen with a history of violent crime and imprisonment, who was known to French counter-terrorism services. Investigators are treating the attack as terrorism. Most candidates, in response, cancelled their final rallies and campaign events.
François Fillon, the conservative Republican candidate, who, along with the other ten candidates was taking place in a final live television interview when the news broke, was the first to cancel his events. Others followed suit. Emmanuel Macron, a centrist independent, had planned to hold two rallies in two different towns today, but cancelled both. Candidates seemed to judge the…Continue reading