France's leftist presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon refused Tuesday to join his political rivals and put his campaign on hold out of respect for the Jewish victims of a school shooting.
"Continuing the campaign is an act of moral, intellectual and emotional resistance," said the firebrand leader of the Left Front, a coalition of leftist parties, including the Communists.
"We must not allow our vigorous democracy to be put on hold by an odious and degenerate murderer," said Melenchon, who has shaken up France's election campaign with a surprise jump to 10 percent of voter intentions in the polls.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he will suspend his re-election campaign until at least Wednesday out of respect for the three children and a teacher shot dead at a Jewish school on Monday in Toulouse.
Socialist Francois Hollande, who is leading in the opinion polls, and other candidates have also suspended their campaigns. -AFP