PARIS • French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has said that plagiarised passages of one of her speeches were deliberately used to gather media attention ahead of voting this weekend.
Ms Le Pen copied parts of an address she made on Monday from one made about two weeks earlier by one-time conservative candidate Francois Fillon, the former front runner eliminated in the first round of the election last month.
In an address on April 15, Mr Fillon made specific mention of the geography of France's borders, paid tribute to the French language and spoke of a third "French way" for the 21st century.
The comparison of Ms Le Pen's speech with Mr Fillon's became a social media sensation and led to speculation about how she could have made such a serious error.
Speaking on Tuesday night on the TF1 channel, she acknowledged the "buzz" and said she had wanted to draw attention to her similarities with Mr Fillon, whose voters she is trying to attract.
"We have in part the same vision of France as voters for Francois Fillon, of its greatness, the role that it must play in the world," the 48-year-old former lawyer said.
If we hadn't have done it, you wouldn't have spoken about it. We know you so well, we know how it works.
MS MARINE LE PEN, the National Front's far-right leader.
She is trailing in the polls ahead of a run-off vote against centrist Emmanuel Macron on Sunday that will decide France's next leader.
"If we hadn't have done it, you wouldn't have spoken about it," Ms Le Pen told her interviewer ahead of a debate with Mr Macron yesterday night. "We know you so well, we know how it works."