Striking Factory Workers Give Cold Reception to Macron After Le Pen's Visit

Macron, Le Pen set for final French duel

Striking Factory Workers Give Cold Reception to Macron After Le Pen's Visit

Hollande, the current president of France, has also encouraged voters to support Macron in the second round of voting, saying Ms. Le Pen and the National Front "deeply divide France".

The left-leaning Libération newspaper said Macron "already sees himself there". "The center is stronger than the populists think!"

With both establishment parties knocked out of the race after Sunday's first round, anti-euro Le Pen and independent Macron have two weeks to secure a majority in the May 7 runoff.

Marine Le Pen launched moves to clean the National Front's image of xenophobic associations in the run-up to the campaign for the 2017 presidency.

According to the French Interior Ministry, Macron won the first round of the presidential election on Sunday with 24.01 percent of the vote, while Le Pen came in second with 21.3 percent.

EU leaders also lined up to back the neoliberal Mr Macron, with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warning that Ms Le Pen "seeks its destruction".

That leaves very little room for Le Pen to realistically engineer a Trump-style surprise coup, even with the added distance between her and the far right.

Its candidate Benoit Hamon garnered just 6 per cent of the vote after the right wing of his party switched support to Mr Macron.

"If the state should be neutral, which is at the heart of secularism, we have a duty to let everybody practice their religion with dignity", Macron said when he had not yet declared he would be standing for Presidential election.

Le Pen is campaigning on a nationalist platform that would curb immigration and weaken ties with the European Union.

Le Pen, who has been hoping to emulate Donald Trump's victory in the USA, said the French faced a choice between "runaway globalisation" and a protectionist France. He went on to beat Le Pen senior in a landslide run-off vote.

"The voters who voted for Mr. Melenchon are angry voters".

"Let's promote the "eating French" especially in (school) canteens where our children must take advantage of healthy, quality products", she said.

She has said during the current campaign that she would ban the wearing of kippot in public in France in order to facilitate a ban on Muslim clothes.

Choosing from inside the system is no longer an option.

The fraud allegations have not seemed to have had much impact on Ms Le Pen's campaign, unlike Republican Francois Fillon, who lost scores of voters after it was revealed he gave his wife a fake job as a parliamentary assistant. "If I'd been in her place I would have had a Trump-like campaign, a more open one, very aggressive against those responsible for the decadence of our country, whether left or right", Jean-Marie Le Pen told RTL radio.

Le Pen started her day at the Rungis wholesale market outside Paris, calling for more food to be produced and consumed in this country known as the gastronomic centre of the Western world.

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