Le Pen visits French factory, Macron wins ally before runoff

May 01, 2017, 15:13

But Le Pen's efforts to clean up her National Front party's anti-Semitic image could be undermined by a parallel Paris event by her father, Jean-Marie, expelled from the party over his extreme views.

Seeking to remind voters of the National Front's dark past, Mr Macron paid homage to a Moroccan man thrown to his death in the Seine River on the sidelines of a far-right march more than two decades ago.

"It's a historic day because we are putting France before personal and partisan interests", said Dupont-Aignan, whose party does not have the same notoriety as the National Front's.

Macron on Monday is joining Bourram's son and anti-National Front protesters to honor Bourram's memory. "That is why I am fighting, to say no to racism".

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Macron faces Le Pen's daughter Marine, who took over the party, in Sunday's runoff.

French far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen on Saturday named defeated first-round candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan as her chosen prime minister, a bid to attract his voters and help win victory over the centrist favourite Emmanuel Macron.

Polls give him a commanding lead of up to 20 points over Le Pen in the run-off but show the gap narrowing slightly after Macron's sluggish start to his second-round campaigning.

Le Pen has attempted to woo new voters on either side of the political divide, telling leftists their real enemy is the free-marketeer ex-banker, and conservatives that Macron would continue the policies of the unpopular outgoing Socialists and be soft on terrorism. Instead, she is holding a rally in an exhibition centre north of Paris.

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Le Pen wants a referendum on France's membership in the European Union, to restore French borders and return to the franc currency instead of the euro.

A day after European Union leaders nailed down their negotiating stance over Britain's departure, attention is now on France as its voters decide May 7 whether to choose Le Pen, whose anti-EU stance could unravel post-war unity, or Macron, who wants greater European cooperation and trade.

Ms Le Pen, speaking on Europe-1 radio, reached out to "all those who are patriots" and who want to restore French borders and currency and "rediscover the voice of labour, defend our identity, fight against Islamic fundamentalism".

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