Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

French election: Le Pen pledges to suspend immigration

Conservative candidate Francois Fillon took his tough-on-security campaign to the southern French city of Nice, which was scarred by a deadly truck attack a year ago that killed 86 people.

Fekl said police were carrying out searches and that security surrounding the elections and the candidates had been strengthened.

"Regarding the French's election for only a few weeks ago it was a foregone conclusion that Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Macron would finish almost tied with one another and would be 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 1st depending upon the polls cited, and would thus face off against one another in the run-off two weeks later".

Polls show Le Pen and Macron among four leading candidates with a chance of coming out on top of Sunday's first round and reaching the May 7 runoff, in an unpredictable vote seen as a bellwether for global populist sentiment.

At Paris rallies yesterday independent Presidential hopeful Macron and the far-right's Le Pen vied to hold on to their core electoral bases, while the left's Mélenchon sailed through the city on a barge; centre-left's Fillon was in Nice.

"We have never seen a four-way contest like this in the first round of a presidential election", Frederic Dabi of the Ifop polling institute told AFP. All four main candidates are neck and neck in the polls with 32 per cent of the electorate undecided.

In a reference to Le Pen, Macron said French voters had the choice of "hope and courage over resignation".

With Le Pen expected to reach the second round, polls continue to indicate that whoever faces her will win, although after Brexit and Donald Trump's U.S. election win, no one is taking anything for granted.

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"For the second round, polls seem more clear cut". But the Trump effect may not bring Le Pen the boost she had once expected.

"We need Europe, so we will remake it", Macron told the crowd.

The French interior minister says police have arrested two suspected radicals who were allegedly preparing an "imminent" terror attack in France as it prepares to vote Sunday in the first round of its presidential election.

She also plays to security fears after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks on France.

"The behaviour of people who are now planning not to vote is a major factor".

"Things are evolving", he said on Europe-1 radio.

For his part Fillon, dogged by a fake jobs scandal that has seen him charged with abuse of public funds, said he was confident he would upend the polls.

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