Af­ter deadly at­tack, France looks to­ward week­end pres­i­den­tial vote

Cebu Daily News - - WORLD - AP

PARIS — France be­gan pick­ing it­self up Friday from an­other deadly shoot­ing claimed by the Is­lamic State group, with Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande con­ven­ing the gov­ern­ment’s se­cu­rity coun­cil and his would-be suc­ces­sors in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paign tread­ing care­fully be­fore vot­ing this week­end.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors found a pump-ac­tion shot­gun and knives in the car of the gun­man who tar­geted po­lice on the Champs-El­y­sees, and were work­ing to de­ter­mine whether he had ac­com­plices. The prime min­is­ter said the gov­ern­ment has re­viewed its al­ready-ex­ten­sive elec­tion se­cu­rity mea­sures and says it is “fully mo­bi­lized” for Sun­day’s vote.

One of the key ques­tions was whether, and how, the at­tack that killed one po­lice of­fi­cer and wounded three other peo­ple might im­pact vot­ing in­ten­tions. The risk for the main can­di­dates was that mis­judg­ing the pub­lic mood, mak­ing an ill-per­ceived ges­ture or com­ment, could dam­age their chances. With polling just two days away, and cam­paign­ing banned from Friday at mid­night, they would have no time to re­cover be­fore polls open on Sun­day. Can­di­dates on Friday can­celed or resched­uled fi­nal cam­paign events.

“Noth­ing must hamper this demo­cratic mo­ment, es­sen­tial for our coun­try,” Prime Min­is­ter Bernard Cazeneuve said, ap­peal­ing for na­tional unity and for peo­ple “not to suc­cumb to fear.”

“The whole of Europe is tar­geted be­cause it rep­re­sents the val­ues and ideals of peace,” he said.

More than 50,000 po­lice and gen­darmes are mo­bi­lized to pro­tect Sun­day’s first-round vote in the two-stage elec­tion, with an ad­di­tional 7,000 soldiers also on pa­trol. He added that the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices are work­ing “in the shad­ows” and elite in­ter­ven­tion po­lice forces are also on alert./


Peo­ple walk on the Champs El­y­sees Boule­vard in Paris, Friday.

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