French presidential candidate and National Front leader Marine Le Pen on Monday delivered a speech where she repeated comments made by her rival François Fillon during an address on April 15, reported BBC. While many accused her of plagiarism, her campaign manager said that it was done on purpose as a form of tribute to Fillon.

The far-right candidate has been accused of lifting three passages from Fillon’s address “word for word”. The similarity was first spotted by pro-Fillon YouTube channel, Ridicule TV. They posted the speeches on Twitter to drive home their point.

On Monday, Le Pen spoke in Villepinte, north of Paris, and mentioned France’s “three maritime borders” with the English Channel, North Sea and the Atlantic, just like Fillon had done in his speech in Puy-en-Velay. She also used similar words to talk about the Rhine frontier. The other section of her speech that has been pointed out as plagiarised is about “waiting lists for the Alliance Française in Shanghai, Tokyo, or Mexico, for the French secondary school in Rabat or Rome”.

While rejecting the allegations, National Front’s Deputy Chairman Florian Philippot said the similarity was “a nod to a short passage in a speech about France” on the part of “a candidate that shows she is not sectarian”. Her campaign manager David Rachline described the speech as a form of tribute to the former prime minister, and said the gesture “was appreciated” by his supporters.

Fillion, who had been embroiled in a controversy for allegedly embezzling funds, had crashed out in the first round of the French presidential elections held on April 23. France will choose between Le Pen and Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron of En Marche during the second and final round of voting to be held on May 7.