France's Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen To Attend Ceremony For Murdered Policeman

Posted April 26, 2017

French presidential contender Marine Le Pen said she is leaving her post as president of the far-right National Front Party to be a candidate for "all the French" ahead of a runoff election.

Le Pen's National Front party, from which she distanced herself Monday, has a sordid history of racism and anti-Semitism that can not be completely erased with the purging of extremists, including her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who formerly led the National Front.

He said that Ms Le Pen and her anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front party are campaigning on a platform of "closing borders, weakening popular and middle classes and our economy".

Mr Macron's independent En Marche! group - which translates into English as On The Move - won 23.75% of votes in the first round, while Ms Le Pen's Front National won 21.53%.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, who repeatedly has been convicted of crimes based on anti-Semitism and racism, founded the far-right National Front party that his daughter Marine now leads. "My battle is to defeat Marine Le Pen".

While the Républicains' official line is "not to vote Le Pen", Christian Estrosi, head of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, where the FN is very strong, said any members failing to clearly call for a Macron vote should be "excluded". "I will be above the partisan considerations - it is an important act".

Macron has also come under fire from potential allies and Le Pen for acting as if victory next month was already in the bag after visiting a restaurant on the Left Bank on Sunday night after his first round triumph, handing ammunition to his opponents who described it as shallow, arrogant behaviour.

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Dutch far-right populist Geert Wilders, however, welcomed Le Pen's success as a "bright day for patriots in France and elsewhere who want more national sovereignty and less European Union and immigration".

French voters would be wise to make Macron - the more sensible, centrist candidate - their nation's next president.

Whatever the outcome on May 7, it will mean a redrawing of France's political landscape, which has been dominated for 60 years by mainstream groupings from the centre-left and centre-right, both of whose candidates faded.

Le Pen is confident that she can - and will - win the second round and that she wants to be the president of all French people.

The anti-EU Ms Le Pen's campaign majored on jobs, security and the threat from Islamic extremism.

Le Pen, visiting the Rungis wholesale market outside Paris on Tuesday, said the French government must promote meat from France. However, opinion polls suggest Mr. Macron is expected to win the run-off.