Kenya court annuls presidential election result

Kenya’s Supreme Court has accused the electoral board of committing “irregularities” during the recent presidential vote. The annulment marks a setback for President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has called the judges “crooks.”

Watch video02:29

Kenya Supreme Court nullifies Kenyatta’s re-election

Kenya’s Supreme Court on Friday annulled the result of recent presidential elections, saying the electoral board committed “irregularities and illegalities.”

“A declaration is hereby issued that the presidential election held on August 8 was not conducted in accordance to the constitution and applicable law, rendering the results invalid, null and void,” said Judge David Maraga, announcing the verdict of four out of the court’s six judges.

Read more: Kenya: From the court of the people to the courts of law

The electoral board “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the elections in accordance with the constitution,” Maraga added. Two of the court’s judges dissented with the verdict, saying the will of the people should not be nullified due to challenges that arose during the electoral process.

New elections must take place within 60 days, according to the ruling.

Following the election, supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga took to the streets to demand Uhuru Kenyatta, dubbed Kenya's president, step downFollowing the election, supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga took to the streets to demand Uhuru Kenyatta, dubbed Kenya’s president, step down

Contested result

The electoral commission had pronounced President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the election with 54.3 percent of the vote.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, Kenyatta’s challenger during the presidential election, had rejected the initial result in the wake of the vote, prompting violent protests that left at least 16 people dead and dozens more injured.

The Supreme Court’s ruling marks the first time a presidential result has been overturned in Kenya.

Tensions have risen after the general election, prompting fears of election-related violence in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Both Kenyatta and Odinga have been dogged before by political violence that erupted after the 2007 polls and left 1,100 people dead.

Raila Odinga celebrated the court's ruling in downtown Nairobi with his supportersRaila Odinga celebrated the court’s ruling in downtown Nairobi with his supporters

‘Against the will of the people’

President Kenyatta at first indicated that he respected the ruling even if he disagreed with it, saying it went “against the will of the people.”

“The court has made its decision. We respect it. We don’t agree with it,” said Kenyatta in a televised speech. “That is the nature of democracy.”

In later off-the-cuff comments, however, he called Maraga and his fellow judges “crooks,” and told suporters he was ready to campaign again.

Read more: Kenya elections: Three women make political history

Uhuru Kenyatta (picture-alliance/AP Photo/Kenya TV)Kenyatta has said he will campaign again on the same platform

‘Historic day’

Predictably, Odinga hailed the court’s announcement.

“This is a historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension for the people of the continent of Africa,” he said. “We are ready for elections but we don’t have confidence” in the electoral commission, he added.

The opposition leader called for the electoral board to be disbanded and its officials prosecuted. The commission later said it would shuffle some staff and ensure any members who violated the law will be brought to justice.

Odinga and his National Super Alliance, a coalition of opposition groups, were given access to the electoral commission’s electronic server to verify the result of the election.

Supervised by independent technology experts, Odinga claimed to have discovered that the electoral commission’s computers were manipulated to hand Kenyatta the victory.

‘Tainted’ officials

Musalia Mudavadi, another leading figure in the National Super Alliance, also hailed the court’s decision in an interview with DW.

Like Odinga, he called for the prosecution of some electoral officials, calling them “tainted.”

Mudavadi also told DW that the electoral board “had succeeded in hoodwinking international observers,” adding that “the whole issue of observers need to be looked at afresh because they are usually hoodwinked to rubberstamp illegal activities.”

Watch video00:30

Odinga: ‘Very historic day’ for Kenya

ls/ng (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)



Courtesy, DW

Kenyatta takes the lead in Kenya’s divisive election as Odinga rejects results

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta has taken a significant lead in Kenya’s tense elections, according to early results. Opposition leader Raila Odinga has already rejected the emerging tally, calling it “fake.”

Watch video02:20

High turnout in Kenyan general election

With more than 10 million ballots counted, Uhuru Kenyatta (photo) was officially leading with 55 percent of the vote against his challenger and longtime opposition leader Raila Odinga’s 44 percent, according to results released early Wednesday by the electoral commission (IEBC).

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, however, has rejected the results of the divisive vote, saying they were “fake.” Despite Kenyatta’s lead by more than 1.1 million ballots, Odinga remained adamant that the projected numbers were false.

Regardless of the initial projections, the contest between Odinga and Kenyatta was expected to stay close. With growing opposition claims of an alleged plot to rig the vote and the brutal murder of the electoral commission’s top IT manager last week, the atmosphere in the country remained tense.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga casting his vote (Bryan Jaybee / Anadolu Agency )Opposition candidate Odinga cast his vote at the Kibera Primary School in one of Africa’s largest slums

Kenya’s elections took place a decade after the infamous 2007 vote, which resulted in widespread violence leaving more than 1,100 people dead and 600,000 displaced, and which foreign observers agreed was riddled with irregularities.

Candidates running for the highest office in the country need a simple majority to win a five-year term. Up to 20 million Kenyans cast their ballots at 41,000 polling stations on Tuesday.

The presidential vote was held concurrently with the election of 47 governors, 47 senators and 290 members of the lower house. Final results are expected later on Wednesday at the earliest, but election officials have up to a week to declare the outcome.

A close race

As he voted, Kenyatta said he would step down if he lost and called on Odinga’s party to do the same. “In the event that they lose, let us accept the will of the people. I am willing myself to accept the will of the people, so let them too,” he said.

There were a total of eight candidates running for the presidency, but 55-year-old Kenyatta and 72-year-old Odinga seemed to be the absolute front-runners by a long stretch.

Read more: How Kenyan youth could swing the 2017 election

The two men represent different ethnic communities of Kenya. The Kikuyu group has supplied three of Kenya’s four presidents since independence from the UK in 1963. Odinga has drawn support from the Luo ethnic community whose rivalry with the Kikuyu has defined most of Kenya’s post-independence history.

A vote for peace and prosperity

From local politicians to international observers, people in Kenya were hoping for peaceful elections. DW correspondent Sella Oneko said that voters “hope that everything will pass quickly, so that things go back to normal.”

“Many people are very disillusioned and feel that elections and politicians haven’t and won’t improve things,” Oneko said. In one of the latest surveys, high living costs, corruption, a lack of jobs and the drought were the voters’ most serious concerns.

Analysts believe that, no matter the outcome, the losing candidate is likely to make allegations of election fraud – which many fear could spark violence similar to that of 2007.

“It seems almost inevitable that whoever loses will question the result,” Nic Cheeseman, professor of African politics at Birmingham University in England, told the AFP news agency.

“The question is not whether or not they will accept the result but what they will do when they don’t accept it.”

Obama: ‘Respect the will of the people’

Former US President Barack Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, called on voters to ensure a stable democratic process.

“I urge all Kenyans to work for an election – and aftermath – that is peaceful and credible, reinforcing confidence in your new constitution and the future of your country,” Obama said in a statement on Monday.

Voters stand in line at a polling station in one of Africa's largest slums, Kibera (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)Voters stood in long lines at a polling stations

“I urge Kenyan leaders to reject violence and incitement. Respect the will of the people.”

In an interview with DW before the vote, Odinga laid out his conditions for accepting the election results.

“In the unlikely event that I lose fairly, I will definitely accept the will of the people,” he said, adding that if he won he would make rooting out corruption a top priority, along with efforts to unite the country.

“Basically, they have been looking out for their friends,” Odinga said about the government under Kenyatta’s leadership. “So, it is not even the communities that are benefiting. That has polarized the country, because other people feel completely excluded from the governance structure.”

Watch video02:22

Kenya’s voters: young and disenchanted

ss, jm/cmk (dpa, AFP, AP)



Courtesy, DW

Macron Decisively Defeats Le Pen in French Presidential Race



Emmanuel Macron Delivers Victory Speech

France’s president-elect spoke at the Louvre after defeating the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters. Watch in Times Video »

PARIS — Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker, handily won France’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen after voters firmly rejected her far-right message and backed his call for centrist change.

Mr. Macron, 39, who has never held elected office, will be the youngest president in the 59-year history of France’s Fifth Republic after leading an improbable campaign that swept aside France’s establishment political parties.

The election was watched around the world for magnifying many of the broader tensions rippling through Western democracies, including the United States: populist anger at the political mainstream, economic insecurity among middle-class voters and rising resentment toward immigrants.

Mr. Macron’s victory offered significant relief to the European Union, which Ms. Le Pen had threatened to leave. His platform to loosen labor rules, make France more competitive globally and deepen ties with the European Union is also likely to reassure a global financial market that was jittery at the prospect of a Le Pen victory.

Continue reading the main story

Her loss provided further signs that the populist wave that swept Britain out of the European Union and Donald J. Trump into the White House may have crested in Europe, for now.

“I understand the divisions of our country that have led some to vote for extremists,” Mr. Macron said after the vote. “I understand the anger, the anxiety, the doubts that a great part among us have also expressed.”

Mr. Macron pledged to do all he could in his five-year term to bring France together. “I will do everything I can in the coming five years to make sure you never have a reason to vote for extremism again,” he said later Sunday evening, standing before the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre, once the main residence of France’s kings, as thousands of flag-waving supporters gathered in the courtyard to celebrate.

But the election results showed that many people chose not to vote for either candidate, signaling skepticism about his project. And Mr. Macron quickly made clear that he understood the magnitude of the task before him after an often angry campaign.


Supporters Elated by Macron’s Election

French citizens hoping the centrist candidate would become France’s next president were overcome with joy and relief as the final result came in.

By CAMILLA SCHICK and STEFANIA ROUSSELLE on Publish DateMay 7, 2017. Photo by Eric Feferberg/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. Watch in Times Video »

“It is my responsibility to hear and protect the most fragile,” he said.

With nearly 100 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Macron had 66 percent, compared with 34 percent for Ms. Le Pen, according to the official count from the Interior Ministry.

The outcome was a watershed for Ms. Le Pen’s party, the far-right National Front, giving it new legitimacy even though the results showed that the party remains anathema to much of the French electorate for its history of anti-Semitism, racism and Nazi nostalgia.

As significant for France and for Mr. Macron’s future, nearly 34 percent of eligible voters did not cast a ballot or cast a blank or null one, suggesting that a large number of people could not bring themselves to vote for him. The abstention rate was the highest since 1969.

That lack of support presaged a difficult road ahead as Mr. Macron tries to build a legislative majority to push through his program. French parliamentary elections are next month. Currently, he has no party in Parliament.

Among the odds stacked against Mr. Macron, a former economy minister in the departing Socialist government, are deep doubts about the merits of a market economy.

“We saw the emergence of very strong anticapitalist forces,” said Gaspard Koenig, the director of the French think tank Generation Libre.

“You have 50 percent of the electorate that reject the market economy in a very radical way,” Mr. Koenig added. “Thus, he must during the next five years convince people that there are alternatives to the destruction of capitalism that can help them.”

The runoff election was groundbreaking for being a choice between two political outsiders, as well as for its rancor and for an apparent attempt to sway the vote with the hacking of Macron campaign emails, similar to the attack directed at last year’s election in the United States.


How France Voted

Detailed maps of the French presidential election show how Emmanuel Macron decisively beat right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen.


Ms. Le Pen, 48, conceded the election not long after polls closed in France, saying voters had chosen “continuity,” denying Mr. Macron his outsider status and linking him to the departing Socialists.

The vote was a record for the National Front and, she said, a mandate for it to become a new “patriotic and republican alliance” that would be “the primary opposition force against the new president.”

Ms. Le Pen earned 10.6 million votes, close to twice the number her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, received when he ran a losing presidential campaign against Jacques Chirac in 2002. The 34 percent of the vote Ms. Le Pen won was the highest share the French had ever given to her party.

The election was also the first in which the National Front candidate — rather than being a pariah who was shut out of debates and kept off the front pages of major newspapers, as happened in 2002 — was treated more like a normal candidate despite the party’s anti-Semitic and racist roots.

After taking over the party leadership in 2011, Ms. Le Pen worked to distance the National Front from her father, its founder. Stéphane Ravier, a National Front senator and a close adviser to Ms. Le Pen, said the party needed to go further in remaking its identity.

“We will need to make some changes, do things differently,” he said in an interview as the returns came in. “We will have to talk about our positions on the euro with more pedagogy. We may also have to change the name of the party.”

In her concession speech, Ms. Le Pen acknowledged that the party had to “profoundly” renew itself to become a “new political force.”

Ms. Le Pen clearly failed to persuade enough voters that her party had sufficiently changed. Many of the votes Mr. Macron received on Sunday were no doubt cast less in support of him than in rejection of her. Nearly the entire political establishment spoke out against a Le Pen presidency.


Marine Le Pen Concedes French Election

The far-right French presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, thanked her supporters and congratulated her opponent, Emmanuel Macron, after pollsters projected that he would be the next president.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS and REUTERS. Photo by Joel Saget/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. Watch in Times Video 

Mr. Macron formed his political movement, En Marche! (Onward!), a little more than a year ago. He was initially given a slim chance of winning in a country that has never elected a president from outside the traditional left-wing or right-wing parties, with the exception of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, a centrist who led from 1974 to 1981.

Since then, French politics has been dominated by the Socialists on the left and the Republicans (or their precursors) on the right.

Mr. Macron’s campaign benefited from canny timing and no small dose of luck, with the collapse of the governing Socialist Party under President François Hollande, the incumbent, who was so unpopular that he took the extraordinary step of not seeking re-election.

Mr. Macron was also helped by an embezzlement scandal that damaged the candidacy of the center-right candidate François Fillon, who, at the start of the campaign, seemed certain to claim the presidency.

Mr. Macron’s message — that his new movement was neither right nor left, but represented a third way, with elements of both — seemed to appeal to numerous urban voters, as well as to many young voters.

As the results appeared on a screen set up at the Louvre, Macron supporters shouted with joy. Some started singing the Marseillaise, the French national anthem.

“This is a historic moment,” said Jacques Pupponi, 60, who came with his children: Noé, 11; Dora, 12; and Eden, 13.

“I’ve lived moments like this before, in 1981,” he added, referring to the election of the Socialist president François Mitterrand. “I’m very happy about the score — it’s very, very important,” Mr. Pupponi said of Mr. Macron’s decisive victory.

For Mourad Djebali, 30, a Tunisian engineer who obtained French citizenship a few months ago, the result felt like a personal affirmation. “I’m moved,” Mr. Djebali said. “I recognize the France that has received me.

“It’s a great symbol of France,” he added. “It’s a sign of hope. Everyone doesn’t agree with each other, but that one thing we agree on is that we should not open the door to the extremes.”

Russian politicians see Le Pen as a ‘hope for change’ but expect Macron victory

Following Francois Fillon’s defeat in the first round of the French presidential race, Moscow is taking a close look at the two candidates left. Among many Kremlin politicians, Marine Le Pen is the new preferred choice.

Frankreich Präsidentschaftswahl Macron und Le Pen (Reuters/C. Hartmann)

With conservative Francois Fillon finishing third in Sunday’s first round vote, the Kremlin lost its favored French presidential candidate. While centrist Emmanuel Macron is now largely seen by Russian politicians and experts as the most likely to win the run-off election on May 7, they suggested that as a president he won’t help to solve France’s political woes.

For the Kremlin, Fillon’s election defeat is not good news. Among France’s four main presidential candidates, he pursued the closest ties with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. The two politicians have been on friendly terms since they both served as prime ministers between 2007 and 2012.

Frankreich Wahl Francois Fillon Rede in Paris nach der Niederlage (Reuters/C. Hartmann)Many saw Fillon as Moscow’s preferred candidate

During that time, Putin and Fillon spent many hours in negotiations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last year. “They indeed keep friendly relations,” he added. Speaking of his former colleague, Putin himself described the Republican candidate as a “tough negotiator” and “without any doubt a highly professional and decent person.”

During the election campaign, Fillon demonstrated his friendly leanings toward Moscow, calling the Western sanctions against Russia “totally ineffective.” Speaking of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, he repeatedly cited the right to “self-determination.”

Macron wary of Russia  

In contrast to Fillon, front-runner Emmanuel Macron is the most unfavorable candidate for Moscow. Although intending to maintain dialogue with Russia, the 39-year old politician urged the European Union to take a hard line on any possible interference in the election process in Europe, “Bloomberg” reported in February, citing an unidentified official from his campaign.

The report came a day after Macron’s campaign chief Richard Ferrand accused Russia of carrying out cyberattacks on the campaign’s computer network. He also accused Moscow of using fake news in an effort to discredit Macron ahead of the election.

Watch video02:47

Macron and Le Pen in French runoff

The former economy minster won almost 24 percent of the vote in the first round on Sunday, closely followed by right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, who garnered 21.3 percent. For Russia, this outcome hardly came as a surprise, with some politicians and political analysts in Moscow suggesting that Le Pen is unlikely to beat Macron in the second round. “It is obvious that the Western world will do anything to prevent Le Pen from gaining the presidential seat,” The State Duma deputy with ruling United Russia party, Sergei Zheleznyak, told reporters on Monday. “They don’t need a president of France, who advocates the independence and sovereignty of his country, preserving national identity and traditional values, who is ready for a dialogue and equal cooperation with other countries and opposes the sanctions policy,” he added, apparently referring to the Western establishment.

During her visit to Moscow in late March when she met Vladimir Putin, Le Pen pointed out that she is “in favor of developing relations with Russia” and called for cooperation with Moscow in the fight against terrorism. In 2014, her party, the National Front, received a 9 million euro ($9.8 million) loan from a Russian bank after French financial institutions denied it a credit.

Clinton and Trump in the French manner

Deputy chairman of Russia’s Communist Party Ivan Melnikov pointed out that Le Pen and the two leading presidential candidates who hadn’t made it to the second round – Francois Fillon and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon got roughly 60 percent of the votes in total. “These are the candidates who declared a course for cooperation with Russia. Mr. Macron must consider that now,” the Russian politician said.

USA | Ende der 3. Präsidentschaftsdebatte 2016 in Las Vegas (REUTERS/M. Blake)The US and French elections – can parallels be drawn?

Meanwhile, State Duma deputy Zheleznyak suggested that the close first round finish between Macron and Le Pen created intrigue for the runoff in May. The head of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, compared France’s upcoming vote with the recent presidential election in the United States, which saw Hillary Clinton defeated by Donald Trump. In France, just like in the US, “hopeless tenacity in preserving the previous policy on the one hand will compete with hope for change on the other,” Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page. The only difference is that in the US “hopelessness was female,” he added, referring to Clinton, “and here it’s vice versa.”

The politician also added that the likely outcome – a Macron victory – will not solve France’s problems, but only postpone them. Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow, echoed this thought. In an interview with news agency Interfax he said he doesn’t believe that as a new president Macron could lead the country out of political and economic crisis. “It looks like he is a product of a political combination of circumstances rather than a representative of any distinct political program,” Lukyanov  said, referring to the French politician. “If so,” he added, “the situation might only get worse in the future, and then the new political reality will not be better than the old one.”



French presidential election: Le Pen, Macron projected as winners in first round

As France’s polls closed in the first round of presidential voting on Sunday, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron were projected by multiple news agencies to advance to a May 7 runoff.

The projections, based on vote totals in certain constituencies that were then extrapolated nationwide, were reported by The Associated Press, Reuters and AFP.

With 19.1 percent of the official vote counted, the Interior Ministry said Sunday night that Le Pen was leading with 25 percent followed by Macron with 21.3 percent. The early vote count includes primarily rural constituencies that lean to the right, while urban areas that lean left are counted later.

The likely Le Pen-Macron matchup was announced almost immediately after polls closed at 8 p.m. local time. But even before the first results were announced, Le Pen’s fans were so sure of her victory they began singing “La Marseillaise” at one of her headquarters.

The May 7 runoff now places the controversial, right-wing nationalist Le Pen against the centrist, Pro-European Union Macron. Le Pen’s entry into the second round of voting was being watched closely around the globe and is seen as another victory for a populist movement that has recently claimed wins in Britain’s so-called “Brexit” referendum and the election of President Trump in the United States.

Multiple politicians immediately endorsed Macron in the second round of voting, including embattled conservative candidate Francois Fillon, who conceded shortly after polls closed. Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also called for the country to mobilize around Macron and beat Le Pen.

Security around the more than 60,000 polling stations was tightened up in wake of the deadly shooting on the Champs-Elysses on Thursday, which left one police officer and a gunman dead. The government mobilized more than 50,000 police and gendarmes to protect the polling places and an additional 7,000 soldiers were on patrol.

It is the first time in recent memory that a presidential election, in which 47 million people are eligible to vote, taking place during a state of emergency, which was put in place after the Paris attacks of November 2015.

France’s Interior Ministry said voter turnout by late afternoon was 69.4 percent — slightly lower than in 2012, when turnout was high. There was a marked surge in turnout in the Paris region.

France’s 10 percent unemployment, its lackluster economy and security issues topped concerns for the 47 million eligible voters.

Paris shooting casts shadow over final day of French election campaign

Paris (CNN)A deadly attack on a police bus in the heart of Paris cast the shadow of terror over the final days of the French presidential election campaign.

One police officer died after a gunman wielding a machine gun leapt out of a car and opened fire on the Champs-Elysees, Paris’s most famous boulevard, as candidates were engaging in their final TV debate.
Gunman opens fire on police in Paris

Gunman opens fire on police in Paris 00:45
The attack dramatically changed the course of the campaign’s final hours: the three main candidates canceled campaign events and instead made televised statements in which they competed to talk tough on security and vowed a crackdown on ISIS.
The far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, demanded the closure of all Islamist mosques. The Prime Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, accused her of trying to capitalize on the attack.
ISIS swiftly claimed the attack was carried out by one of its “fighters.” The assailant — Karim Cheurfi, a French national with a long and violent criminal record — was shot dead as he tried to make his escape. Prosecutors said a note defending ISIS fell out of his pocket, although there was no previous evidence of radicalization.

Key developments:

  • Attack came days before first round of voting in presidential election.
  • Paris prosecutors named the attacker as Karim Cheurfi.
  • Three members of attacker’s family arrested.
  • ISIS names a man it claims was involved in the attack.

Election in turmoil

Center-right candidate François Fillon, Le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron canceled planned campaign events after the shooting. Under French election rules, Friday was due to be the final day of campaigning before Sunday’s first round of voting.
ISIS claims responsibility for Paris attack

ISIS claims responsibility for Paris attack 02:17
It was unclear whether the attack would tip the balance of the vote in favor of Le Pen, who has vowed to take a tough line on “Islamic terrorism.”
At a televised news conference Friday, Le Pen called for the closure of all “Islamist” mosques in France, the expulsion of hate preachers and the reinstatement of French borders.
People on the French security services’ watch list for radicalization should also be expelled from France and have their French citizenship revoked, she said.
Cazeneuve accused Le Pen of trying to capitalize on the attack. “The candidate of the Front National, like every drama, seeks to profit from and to control the situation to divide. She seeks to benefit from fear for exclusively political ends, the Prime Minister said in a televised address.
Fillon said that if elected, his foreign policy priority would be the destruction of ISIS. He also called for the creation of 10,000 more police posts.
Paris attack witness: ‘I hid in a corner’ 01:26
“In times such as these we have to demonstrate that France is united,” he said. “We also have to be clear that we are in a state of emergency. We are at war. This fight for freedom and for the security of the French people must be the priority of the next five-year term.”
Cazeneuve, however, questioned Fillon’s position on security, saying that when he previously served as Prime Minister he had cut thousands of security force jobs.
Macron appealed to voters not to succumb to fear. “Do not give in to fear, do not give in to division, do not give in to intimidation,” he said. “The choice that you have to make on Sunday must be a choice for the future.”
Macron said he would hire an additional 10,000 police officers in the next five years and that he would create a task force under the French Presidency to fight ISIS.
Leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon urged the French people to “remain cool-headed” and “to not subject ourselves to hate, vengeance and resentment.”

Terror investigation

On its media channel, Amaq, ISIS claimed that the attack was carried out by “Abu Yousuf al-Baljiki (the Belgian) and he is one of the Islamic State’s fighters.”
Belgian Interior Ministry spokesman Olivier Van Raemdonck told CNN the attacker was not Belgian and that there did not appear to be a Belgian connection to the incident.
It is not clear to whom ISIS was referring in its claim.
A man who turned himself in to Antwerp police was Youssef El Osri. The man’s lawyer, Nabil Riffi, told CNN his client was “very shocked” at being linked to the Paris shooting and that he had been working at a gas station in Antwerp at the time it occurred.
Security in Paris has been stepped up in recent days, but the presence of 50,000 police officers on the streets was not enough to prevent the latest assault, which was being investigated by anti-terror officials.
French President François Hollande convened a meeting of the country’s defense council Friday.
The dead officer was 37, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported. One of the wounded officers was critically injured but is improving, Paris Prosecutor François Molins said. Also wounded was a female tourist.
A damaged window is pictured on the Champs Elysees boulevard in Paris early Friday.

Molins said the attacker had a long criminal record. He spent 11 years in jail after shooting two police officers in 2001. While in custody, he shot and injured a prison officer after grabbing his gun. He was jailed again in 2013 for lesser offenses and released on probation two years later.
Molins said Cheurfi was investigated by counterterror officials earlier this year because of alleged threats he made against police. He was briefly placed under house arrest and investigators discovered knives and masks in his home but no evidence linking him to terror groups, Molins said.
Despite his long criminal record, Cheurfi was never placed on a terror watch list because there were no signs of radicalization, Molins told reporters.
Three members of his family were arrested in the Paris suburb of Chelles early Friday morning.
Earlier this week French authorities arrested two men in Marseille who were allegedly planning an attack in a run-up to the election.

World leaders react

A woman places a flower Friday at the spot where the shooting occurred.

Speaking in Indonesia Friday, US Vice President Mike Pence said the attack was just the latest reminder “that terrorism can strike anywhere at any time.”
French election: Related content
  • Opinion: The stakes for the French election just got higher
  • US President Donald Trump, at a news conference in Washington, said: “What can you say? It never ends.”
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her sympathy “goes out to the victims and their families,” according to her spokesman Steffen Seibert.
    In a statement, the UK government said it “strongly condemns the appalling terrorist attack in Paris.”
    France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead. Parliament voted in December to extend the extraordinary provisions to ensure the protection of upcoming presidential and general elections.
    Correction: This story has been updated to clarify the extent to which French intelligence authorities were monitoring Karim Cheurfi before the attack.

    CIA and FBI agree Russia intervened in US presidential election

    The CIA and FBI have concluded that Russia interfered in the US presidential election in support of eventual winner Donald Trump. The White House also agrees with the findings.

    Deutschland FBI Logo in der US-Botschaft in Berlin (picture-alliance/dpa/T. Brakemeier)

    The FBI is supporting the CIA’s belief that Russia interfered with the United States presidential election in order to support the Republican candidate, and eventual winner, Donald Trump.

    CIA Director John Brennan sent an email to his employees that he spoke with FBI Director James Comey and director of national intelligence James Clapper about their agreement in Russia’s involvement. “I met separately with FBI (Director) James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” said Brennan in the email, according to the Washington Post.

    The email continued by saying the three organizations “need to focus on completing the thorough review of this issue that has been directed by President Obama and which is being led by the DNI.”

    The White House said it was “fact” that hacking from Russia helped Trump secure the US presidency in November’s election. Current US President Barack Obama said during a press conference Friday he told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russian hackers should “cut it out or there were going to be serious consequences if he didn’t” during a face-to-face encounter in China during a G20 meeting.

    Russia dismissed the hacking accusations. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “(the US) should either stop talking about that, or produce some proof at last. Otherwise it all begins to look unseemly.”

    There has been no publicly released evidence of Russia’s suspected role in the US election, but US officials said there was no vote tampering during the presidential election.

    President-elect Trump maintains he won the election fairly and criticized the timing of the investigation.

    kbd/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

    Watch video05:37

    Marc Fisher, Washington Post, on CIA Russia hacking report




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