French presidential race enters final week with May Day rallies

Carla Harmon
May 3, 2017

Mr Macron added that if he were to allow the European Union to continue to function as it was it would be a "betrayal".

But Le Pen has had problems of her own. She expelled him from the party in 2015 after he reiterated anti-Semitic comments.

Macron told supporters waving French and European flags: "Don't boo her, fight her!"

French voters go to the polls on Sunday to decide between the two.

Thousands of French union activists are marching through Paris and other cities to demand that France's next president protect worker rights - but they appear divided about how to cast their vote.

Mr Macron visited Paris's Holocaust memorial to pay his respects, while Ms Le Pen laid a wreath at the World War Two monument in Marseille.

Macron holds a roughly 20-point advantage, at 60 percent support to Le Pen's 40 percent, according to BBC News's composite of the five most recent national polls.

He said he was aware that "many people will vote for me to avoid having the National Front".

Workers in the march aimed to block Ms Le Pen from getting into power, but disagreed on the method.

Macron is now favourite to become France's youngest ever president, leading Le Pen by 19 points in the polls, but she has shown she is a canny campaigner. Cheers of "Marine President!" and anti-immigrant chants rose up in the crowd of thousands for Le Pen's rally.

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

She launched a full-throttled attack on Mr Macron, calling him the candidate of "a morbid continuity, littered with the corpses of jobs transferred offshore, the ruins of bust businesses, and the gaping holes of deficit and debt".

Between them Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron gathered only 45% of votes in that round, which eliminated nine other candidates.

Referring to her plan to hold a referendum on whether France should remain in the European Union, she said: "The French people will decide".

In a speech before the gilded statue in Paris of Joan of Arc, his heroine, Jean-Marie Le Pen urged French voters to back his daughter in Sunday's run-off.

Unlike Chirac, who refused to debate Le Pen's father Jean-Marie in 2002, Macron is adamant he will not shy away from the challenge.

The former banker aiming to become France's youngest ever president may be "smooth, preppy and a little bit of a teacher's pet", she admits.

Macron's meteoric rise from presidential advisor in 2012 to economy minister in Francois Hollande's Socialist government from 2014 to 2016 to presidential frontrunner has been attributed to a mix of talent, opportunism and sheer good luck.

But the war remains a hard area for Ms Le Pen. The presidential candidate joined the man's son and anti-Front National protesters at an annual commemoration near the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Standing Monday on the same bridge, Macron hugged Bourram's son Said, who was 9 when his father was killed.

"There is only one choice, that of the republic and Emmanuel Macron", France's deputy sports minister Thierry Braillard said as he led the supporters. Needless to say, there is no euro without France. The death drew national outrage. And Jean-François Jalkh, who recently took over from Le Pen as the party's head, stepped down just two days after his appointment when an interview he did in 2000 questioning whether the poisonous gas Zyklon B was used against Jews in the camps resurfaced.

Macron met up with a Moroccan man whose father had died in 1995 after he was thrown off a Paris bridge by far-right skinheads.

Other reports by iNewsToday