Far-right French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen is facing plagiarism allegations after parts of her speech on Monday (1 May) were found to be similar to Francois Fillon's address from two weeks ago.
The allegations are reportedly based on a video that is being widely shared on social media, highlighting the similarities in Le Pen's May Day address at a rally in Villepinte and Fillon's 15 April speech in Puy-en-Velay.
Fillon, who was eliminated in the first round of the presidential race on 23 April, had spoken about the geography of France's borders and a third "French way" for the 21st century in his speech. He had also paid tribute to the French language and mentioned quotes from Georges Clemenceau, who was the prime minster during the First World War, and writer Andre Malraux.
Le Pen allegedly lifted Fillon's comments on all these subjects verbatim. She too reportedly talked about "an alternative way" forward for French nationalism and how "the French way" of life "remains a hope for the world in the 21st Century", the Daily Mirror reported.
A more than a minute long video posted on YouTube and being shared on Twitter shows the two making the same comments in French.
However, Florian Philippot, deputy chairman of Le Pen's National Front party, rejected the allegations and told Agence France Presse that it was "a nod to a short passage in a speech about France" on the part of "a candidate that shows she is not sectarian".
The scandal comes less than a week before the country will decide whether Le Pen or her independent rival Emmanuel Macron will be the new president of France. Opinion polls reportedly suggest Macron is the outright favourite for the French and is expected to enjoy a majority of more than 60% votes on 7 May.