PARIS, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Benjamin Griveaux, the candidate of French President Emmanuel Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) party for mayor of Paris in next month's municipal elections, on Friday announced his decision to quit the mayoral race over a leaked sex video.
"I have decided to withdraw my candidacy from the municipal election. For more than a year my family and I were subjected to defamatory, false statements, anonymous attacks, the disclosure of private and stolen conversations and death threats," Griveaux said in a televised address.
"As if this was not enough, yesterday (Thursday) a new level was reached. Websites and social networks carrying ignoble attacks about my private life," he added, noting that "This is going too far."
Griveaux, a member of Macron's inner circle, resigned as a junior minister and government spokesman in March 2019 to prepare his campaign for the municipal race.
He won the LREM's blessing to be its mayoral candidate, causing a rift in the ruling camp that led to the president asking rival candidate Cedric Villani to step aside.
Already struggling to revitalize the campaign to unseat Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who is the favorite in the race, officials from Macron's party were meeting to pick a new candidate to take control of Paris City Hall.
"Our collective responsibility is to continue to carry this project," the ruling party's Delegate General Stanislas Guerini told local media.
He pledged "to name quickly the best candidate to continue to carry our project and embody the change for Paris."
The municipal elections will be held in two rounds, on March 15 and March 22.