French campaign revs up with rival rallies, May Day marches

With just six days until a French presidential runoff that could define Europe's future, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron held high-stakes rallies Monday that overlapped with May Day marches and underscored the fact that jobs are voters' No. 1 concern.

Le Pen senior gave his own traditional May Day speech at a statue of national heroine Joan of Arc, a short walk from where Macron commemorated the death of young Moroccan Brahim Bouarram.

"The problem is, yet again, like in 2002, the French electorate is being morally blackmailed, not so much to vote for a Macron they may really be fond of but against Le Pen", he said.

She also claimed that his pro-business policies would not create jobs but send them overseas and leave French workers hungry.

Ms Le Pen has won support in rural and former industrial areas by promising to retake control of France's borders from the European Union and slash immigration. The Atlantic, which has opened us for centuries onto the great sea and brings us adventures. In next weekend's second round run-off vote, he is up against far-right firm Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen, who has tapped into anti-establishment frustration. At no point in the speech did she cite Fillon or acknowledge the source.

However, on Sunday she renewed her attacks against the single currency, which she said was "dead", - renewing a key theme of her campaign which has been marked by her anti-European Union, "Frexit" stance.

"Russians sympathize with Le Pen, some 61% of those polled back her, while only 8% went for Macron", the survey indicated. However the website that revealed the copied text, Ridicule TV, is reported to be run by Fillon supporters.

Opinion polls show that while an overwhelming majority of FN voters back a return to the Franc, about three quarters of French voters want to keep the euro, making it a major hurdle to Le Pen's quest for power.

"What happened is unforgettable and unforgivable", Macron said at the memorial after pausing before a wall bearing the names of 76,000 Jews who were deported, of whom just 2,500 survived. Both are going after supporters of Fillon and the nine other candidates knocked out in the first round.

The Socialists and Republicans, the two parties that have governed France since Charles de Gaulle set up its modern institutions, were shut out of the race in the first round of voting on April 23.

He denounced the front-running Macron as a "masked Socialist" backed by the highly unpopular Hollande, who did not seek a second term.

Legislative elections are in June, and whoever is president will depend on lawmakers to implement an agenda.

Front-runner Macron became economic adviser to Hollande when he took office in 2012 and was named economy minister in 2014.

On the contrary, she added, "if you consider that what you have lived through for five years is hell, that it is tax hell, economic hell, hell of the unfair global competition, hell of massive immigration, hell of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, hell of insecurity, so you have to vote for me".

Le Pen, who hopes to mimic President Donald Trump's populist electoral victory, compared Macron to Hillary Clinton.

Latest News