French candidates boost security ahead of tense vote

21 April, 2017, 04:45 | Author: Jonathon Greene

Police stand by close to the Dome in Marseille before the meeting of the French presidential election candidate for the Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen, during a campaign on April 19, 2017, in Marseille, southern France.

FILE - In this Feb.5, 2017 file photo, French far-right leader presidential candidate Marine Le Pen acknowledges applause in Lyon, central France.

Independent centrist Macron met Wednesday with the head of leading French Muslim group CFCM, Anouar Kbibech, just ahead of Sunday's presidential election first round.

As of Tuesday, Mr Macron was running at 23 per cent and Ms Le Pen at 22.3 per cent, according to the Bloomberg composite of French polling.

French Socialist presidential candidate Benoit Hamon is holding a rally and concert in Paris four days before a vote likely to devastate his once-powerful party. There will then be a second runoff election in May between the top two candidates.

Le Pen, the anti-immigration and anti-EU candidate, used her final appearances to highlight a nationalist agenda in which "the essentials" are security, illegal immigration and the French identity, which she says is being lost as Islamists try to usurp French civilization and multiply the threat of terrorism.

She assailed recent governments for failing to stop attacks and warned on BFM television earlier in the day; "We are all targets - all the French". It's in France, where many speculate that the future of the European Union will be decided.

Ms Le Pen's promises to pull France out of the euro, cut immigration, make it harder to get French nationality and to get tough on suspected Islamists, have kept her in joint top place in most of the latest polls. "Well, France is not for sale, the French people are not for sale", she said.

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