Wednesday, 26 April, 2017

French candidates boost security ahead of tense vote

Christy Curtis | 21 April, 2017, 04:30

On Christmas Eve 2015, with France reeling from terror attacks in Paris a month before, Emmanuel Macron sent a letter to the president and prime minister, urging sweeping measures to tackle French inequalities that he believed were fueling extremism.

It is a challenge for French pollsters, which have a near-perfect record in forecasting the vote share for the top five finishers in the first rounds in 2007 and 2012 and the subsequent run-offs.

The Front National leaders commitment to ending Frances membership of the borderless Schengen area, described as “effectively an global passport-free zone for terrorists” by former Interpol chief Robert Noble, sets her on a collision course with the European Commission.

Pollsters forecast the most likely outcome of the first round is that centrist Emmanuel Macron will go head-to-head against far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the May 7 second round. In Marseille. She reiterated her plan to expel all foreigners in a suspect file and strip dual national suspects of their French nationality.

Ms Le Pen has spent years trying to broaden support for the party founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen but she appears to have suspended that approach in the final days of rallying before Sunday's first round of voting. However, Le Pen has lost some ground as Fillon and Melenchon closed the gap.

A poll by the BVA firm published Wednesday evening said Macron led with a one-point advantage over Le Pen, with Fillon and Melenchon four points behind. Hamon, the Socialist, trailed in fifth. Some Muslims feel unfairly targeted by French laws banning headscarves in schools and full-face veils in public. "Well, France is not for sale, the French people are not for sale", she said.

Le Pen also defended her decision to force national French news network TF1 to take down the European flag during an interview Tuesday night.

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