A close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday pulled out of the race for Mayor of Paris after the publication of what French media reported was a private video of sexual nature.
The official candidate of Macron’s Centrist Party for the March elections, Benjamin Griveaux, said an internet site and social media published ignoble attacks on his private life.
“I don’t wish to expose my family and myself any further when all attacks are permitted. I have decided to withdraw my candidacy,” he said.
Griveaux, a long-standing Macron ally who resigned from a ministerial job on January to run for mayor of Paris, had already been struggling to make an impact in the race.
However, recent opinion polls had already put him in third place behind outgoing Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and conservative challenger Rachida Dati, in the highly symbolic contest.
Meanwhile, another high-profile Macron supporter, star mathematician Cedric Villani, was running a dissident campaign in the capital and had been expelled from Macron’s centrist LREM party as a result.
Broadcaster BFMTV reported that LREM leader Stanislas Guerini would meet with party leaders and other candidates on the party’s electoral schedule for Paris to discuss a replacement for Griveaux.