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French Presidential Candidate Benoit Hamon Slams 'Money' Rivals

French Presidential Candidate Benoit Hamon Slams
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French Socialist Benoit Hamon attempted to turn around his flagging presidential campaign on Sunday, attacking his main rivals as the -'money-'...

French Socialist Benoit Hamon attempted to turn around his flagging presidential campaign on Sunday, attacking his main rivals as the "money" candidates in a key speech aimed at halting his poll slide.

"Everything begins today," said Mr Hamon, 49, a leftist rebel who was the surprise winner of the party's presidential nomination in January but has struggled since to unite the party around his bid.

A poll published on Sunday showed him dropping four points in two weeks, falling back into joint fourth with Communist-backed radical Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round of the election on April 23.

The poll of 1,508 voters by Kantar Sofres credited both men with 12 per cent.

It showed Euroskeptic Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron neck-and-neck with 26 per cent each, ahead of scandal-hit Republicans nominee Francois Fillon with 17 per cent. All polls show Ms Le Pen being beaten by Mr Macron in the May 7 second round runoff.

Mr Hamon, who made waves during the Socialist primary with his pledge to introduce a universal basic income and tax robots that take workers' jobs, took aim on Sunday at the role of money in the race.

"The money party has too many candidates in this election," the 49-year-old former education minister declared.

"One says 'Get rich!' and the other two say 'Make us rich!'", he said, referring in the first instance to liberal ex-banker Macron and in the second to Mr Fillon and Ms Le Pen.

Mr Fillon was last week charged with misuse of public funds over payments totalling nearly one million euros to his wife and children, whom he employed as parliamentary assistants.

Ms Le Pen, for her part, has faced allegations of illegal campaign financing and misusing European Parliament funds as well as claims that she and her father Jean-Marie Le Pen failed to declare the full value of family properties.

Mr Macron responded on Sunday by noting Mr Hamon should spend less time attacking the competition.

"I don't waste... my time at my rallies railing against the other candidates," he said on France Television, adding money is neither something to "cherish" nor to "detest".

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