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French Senator Accused of Polisario Support Beaten Out by Moroccan En Marche Candidate
Rabat - French senator of Algerian descent Leila Aichi, whose alleged support for Polisario Front had been the source of controversy, has lost to French-Moroccan candidate M’jid El Guerrab in their race to win the parliamentary seat of the 9th constituency.
The second round of French parliamentary elections was held on Sunday. Aichi and El Geurrab had been facing off for the 9th consistency, which represents French citizens living in North and West Africa.
El Guerrab, who replaced Aichi as the candidate of La République en Marche, the political party founded by French president Emmanuel Macron, announced his win on Twitter. “I say thank you to all those who have trusted me. Starting from tomorrow, my work will begin.”
Later he published a video in which he promises to work for the good of the French community in the region.
“I will be an MP who unites all the French community of this constituency,” he said. “I will be at your service to solve the problems you face.”
With a margin of 2,000 votes, the young Moroccan newcomer secured a seat at the French National Assembly.
During the first round of elections on June 11, Aichi was ahead with 20.29 percent of the votes, while El Guerrab had 18.93 percent.
Aichi was the first choice for En Marche. However, the controversy over her alleged support for Polisario led the movement’s branches in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal to suspend their endorsement.
As a result, En Marche pulled its nomination of Aichi and choose El Guerrab as her replacement.
The French-Algerian senator responded to accusations by denying that she supports Polisario, stating that her position vis-à-vis the issue of Western Sahara is the same as the French government’s.
Aichi, a member of major En Marche ally the Mouvement démocrate (MoDem) party, visited Morocco last week. During a meeting with Moroccan MP Abdelatif Ouahbi, she described Morocco as “a friend of France,” and stated that “nobody can undermine the historical, political and economic ties between the two countries.”
Addressing the controversy surrounding her, Aichi said she had been a victim of smear campaign.