All Eyes on the First-Round Voting of the French Election

Adjust Comment Print

No campaigning is allowed on Saturday - a French tradition of a quiet election eve.

An Elabe survey of voter intentions, carried out before the Thursday night shooting on the Champs Elysees shopping avenue in central Paris, showed Macron with 24 percent of the first-round vote and far right leader Marine Le Pen falling back slightly to 21.5 percent.

French officials say the two police officers injured on the Champs-Elysees by a gunman who killed one of their colleagues are both out of danger.

Speaking Friday on RTL radio, Macron said: "What our attackers want is death, symbolism, to sow panic (and) to disturb a democratic process, which is the presidential election".

"The European Union is imposing double trouble on us [with] the lack of physical borders with the irresponsible Schengen Treaty", Le Pen told supporters at a rally on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump on Friday said a deadly shooting attack in the heart of Paris claimed by the Islamic State group "will have a big effect" on France's presidential vote on Sunday. Their impromptu reactions highlighted the stark differences between them. One of the wounded officers was critically injured but is improving, he said. Fillon wanted greater cooperation with Russian Federation and Iran and Melenchon said the best answer was to continue with the campaign and show France won't give into violence and he's going ahead with a drinks party for supporters in Paris this evening.

Cazeneuve accused Le Pen of trying to capitalize on the attack.

Referring disparagingly to outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande as "notoriously feeble", Le Pen said: "I only ask one last-ditch effort from him before leaving power: I solemnly ask him to effectively reinstate our borders".

Florida Republican Says Bannon Needs To Go
Trump purportedly told the pair to "work this out" amid repeated policy disagreements between them - a recurring media narrative. Bannon's faction has come to refer to Cohn as "Globalist Gary", an insult for those aligned with Bannon's populist views.

"We can not afford to lose this war".

Macron warned against "giving in to exaggeration", and said he was ready to deal with the terrorist menace with a "clear vision and precise objectives".

Macron, a former economy minister in the government that Le Pen has criticized repeatedly for its security record, said the solutions were not as simple as she suggested. "Don't yield to fear, don't yield to division and intimidation".

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said nothing will stop Sunday's elections as he confirmed the government had fully mobilised its security forces, including elite units, to bolster the 50,000 police already on duty.

Le Pen, who leads the National Front, has made immigration and security a core part of her campaign. But a late surge in support for Melenchon has altered those calculations, pushing French bond yields close to a four-year high.

"This election is incredibly tight", said Dominique Reynie, a professor of political science at Sciences Po in Paris. "Whatever happens we are in for profound political change". "Ms Le Pen is seeking to turn it into an opportunity - a mediocre electoral opportunity that flouts the truth", he said. Melenchon from extreme left slips from 19% to 18%. Sunday's round of voting will be followed by a second-round runoff on May 7 between the top two candidates. She said her plans to vote Fillon remained unchanged.

He said: "She seems to be deliberately forgetting everything that has been done over five years to make people forget that she opposed everything, without ever proposing anything serious or credible".