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France: Le Pen Emerges as Pro-Motorist Candidate
French presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen advocates restrictions on speed cameras and a 93 MPH maximum speed limit.

Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen has emerged as the most pro-motorist candidate running in Sunday's presidential election in France. Le Pen, representing the Front National party, is challenging socialist candidate Segolene Royal, UDF candidate Francois Bayrou and UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy presided over a dramatic expansion of speed cameras as Interior Minister along with other punitive measures against motorists while his own personal motorcade was documented running a red light and causing serious injuries.

The Webcarcenter website this month asked eight questions of the candidates, with Le Pen offering the most positive responses. Le Pen called for the elimination of driver's license demerit points for minor seatbelt and speeding violations and even suggested scrapping points entirely as an option. Sarkozy, Segolene and Bayrou insisted there is no such thing as a small infringement. Le Pen went on to question the fairness of speed cameras.

"It is intolerable that the process from the observation of the infringement to the sanction is completely automated, i.e. dehumanized, and that the charged persons cannot dispute the errors produced by the machines except by paying or by denouncing another driver," Le Pen said. "Justice must be rendered by men."

Le Pen did not go so far as to insist on the total abolition of photo enforcement, but he believes they must be installed only in locations with an accident history and that they must be monitored and evaluated on their performance. The other candidates wholeheartedly embraced cameras in all cases. Le Pen also endorsed a maximum freeway speed limit of 150km/h (93 MPH) in areas that could safely handle the speed. Only Bayrou suggested an extra 20km/h (12 MPH) might be possible on some roads.

Webcarcenter voters give Le Pen a commanding lead of 47 percent with nearest rival Bayrou taking only 21 percent in an online survey.

Source: 8 questions aux 4 presidentiables vedettes (Webcarcenter (France), 4/11/2007)

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