French Candidates Boost Security Ahead of Tense Vote

EPA  IAN LANGSDON

EPA IAN LANGSDON

France's tumultuous election campaign, marked by surprising outcomes in the two main party primaries, the relegation of early frontrunners for the presidency, and the rise of Macron's independent political movement, has become increasingly tense as the gap between candidates shrinks. Her answer: "No, I don't believe it is so".

A man walks past French presidential campaign posters displayed in Marnes-la-Coquette, outside Paris, Thursday, April 20, 2017.

If there is a shock in the French election, it will nearly certainly be in the first round. Hamon is polling a distant fifth place ahead of Sunday's.

Four days before the first round of the French presidential election, a new poll has shown front-runners Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen losing some of their momentum.

If Le Pen takes 22%-23% in the first round, she'll have done better than ever before.

Investors are anxious that if Melenchon is able to maintain this dynamic in the final days of the campaign, he's likely to qualify for the second round of the vote on May 7, where his opponent could turn out to be the the far-right Marine Le Pen who opposes immigration and wants to pull France out of the euro zone.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, a far left politician propelled from wildcard to genuine contender thanks to feisty television performances and smart social media campaign, was stable on 19 percent.

A jobs-for-the-family financial scandal has punctured the campaign of one-time front-runner Francois Fillon and fueled the raging distrust between voters and their elected representatives. While many do not predict Le Pen to become president, such a black swan event would have a big negative impact on the euro as it would create great uncertainty in the markets because Le Pen is anti-euro and plans to take France out of the euro and potentially out of the European Union by holding a referendum. Even among those intending to vote, 28 per cent remain undecided over which candidate to choose. A state of emergency has been in place since 2015. Migrants are in unfortunate [situations], but there are people from France struggling and they must be helped urgently.

"It's complicated", real estate agent Felix Lenglin said during his lunch-time break in a Paris park.

The "nightmare scenario" that Schaeuble talked about last week was a Melenchon-Le Pen second round.

"You don't seek votes on the backs of dead people".

Melenchon says "the Europe of our dreams is dead".

"In the fight against militant Islam, like on everything else, Emmanuel Macron's stance is blurry", Fillon told Le Figaro newspaper, adding he would take a much harder line with extremists.

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. Like her father, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2002, she hopes for an electoral coup by making the runoff.

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