Ch. 2 pundit: Champs Elysees attack may affect Sunday's election

Last night (Thursday), a known terror suspect opened on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, meters from the Arc de Triomphe, murdering a policeman. Today, France's leading presidential candidates responded; Marine Le Pen called for expelling terror suspects. According to Channel 2 News' Europe correspondent, the terror attack will impact the upcoming French presidential election.
Karim Cheurfi shot dead a French policeman last night on the Champs Elysees Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

On Friday, Channel 2 News’ Europe correspondent Elad Simchayoff published an analysis in which he stated that Thursday night’s attack on the Champs Elysees in Paris will most likely have an effect on the upcoming first round of the French presidential election.

As Simchayoff pointed out, last night’s attack was France’s first directed at police officers rather than civilians in the last three years. Similar to the attack on the British Parliament a month ago, it has left the heart of France and Paris blocked off and flooded with policemen.

The attack happened just three short days before the first round of the French presidential election and will most likely have an effect on it, according to Simchayoff. France’s leading candidates have issued responses. However, Simchayoff claims that these responses were rather typical as the candidates are not interested in stirring up political storms at such a sensitive time. In addition, according to law, it is forbidden to continue campaigning after tonight. However, Simchayoff noted, the candidates will most likely respond to the attack in more detail at the end of the first round.

Will Le Pen gain support following last night's attack? Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The prevailing view is that extreme right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen gains support with each attack as she has become the most outspoken candidate on radical Islam and has called for closing France’s borders, according to Simchayoff. Following last night’s attack, Le Pen called for all foreigners on terror watch lists to be expelled from France.

The terrorist responsible for last night’s attack has been identified as Karim Cheurfi, a Paris resident who was known to the police and under suspicion as a potential terror suspect. Arrested in 2001 after shooting at police officers, Cheurfi was sentenced to 20 years but his sentence was reduced a few years later. For the last two months, he had been under investigation for terrorism. He was detained and questioned but “let go” due to lack of evidence.

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