French election: Macron and Le Pen wrap up tense campaign

Torn and overlapping official posters of candidates for the 2017 French presidential election, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, are seen in Cambrai, France (May 4, 2017)Image copyright

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Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen went through to the second round after a vote on 23 April

The two candidates hoping to be France’s next president are making a final push for votes on the last day of campaigning before Sunday’s election.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron – who has a substantial lead in opinion polls – is visiting the southern city of Rodez.

His National Front (FN) rival, Marine Le Pen, met representatives of a police trade union on Friday morning.

Meanwhile Mr Macron has filed a lawsuit over online rumours that he had a secret bank account in the Caribbean.

He has strongly denied the allegations, which were mentioned by Ms Le Pen in Wednesday evening’s rancorous final TV debate between the two contenders.

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Greenpeace activists unfurled a giant banner on the Eiffel Tower urging people to resist the rise of the National Front

An opinion poll by the Odoxa Institute for France Info predicted Sunday’s election would have the lowest turnout of any second-round presidential vote in France since 1969. The institute reported that far-left voters were particularly unlikely to vote.

A separate poll, carried out by Elabe for BFMTV and L’Express, found support for Mr Macron had risen to 62% among those who had decided how to cast their vote, compared to 38% for his far-right rival.

Both candidates started the day with media interviews, and then ecclesiastical visits were on both agendas.

Mr Macron visited the cathedral at Rodez, while Ms Le Pen was expected in Reims, in northern France.

Mr Macron said that he had already decided who his prime minister would be, if elected, but implied that the person themselves did not know.

The prime minister would reflect the spirit of renewal he had built, he added.

He also said that he would introduce an element of proportional representation for elections to France’s National Assembly within his first year in office.

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Media captionAn egg was thrown at Marine Le Pen while she was campaigning

Ms Le Pen has already announced that her prime minister would be the mainstream nationalist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who was defeated in the first round.

Mr Dupont-Aignan said on Friday that Emmanuel Macron was “a dangerous candidate” for France.

Ms Le Pen, interviewed on RTL, said Mr Macron’s decisions would lead to the dissolution of France, with “migratory submersion” and “social devastation”.

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Mr Macron (centre) was in contemplative mood outside Rodez cathedral on Friday morning

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Marine Le Pen campaigned in northern France on Thursday

On Friday the campaign group Greenpeace unfurled a large banner with an anti-National Front message from the Eiffel Tower in central Paris .

The issues dividing Le Pen and Macron

Five things the French election has told us

Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen came top of the 11 candidates in total who participated in the first round of voting on 23 April.

While the outcome of Sunday’s second round should be clear that evening, the results will be officially proclaimed by France’s constitutional council on Thursday, 11 May.

Sunday, 14 May, marks the end of outgoing President Francois Hollande’s term, and is the latest possible date for the inauguration and official transfer of power to his successor.

Mr Hollande, of the Socialist Party (PS), chose not to stand for a second five-year term due to his unpopularity.

While Mr Macron served in Mr Hollande’s cabinet, he is not a member of the PS and has formed his own political movement, En Marche! (On the move).

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Last updated April 25, 2017

*Polling results up to this date show how people said they would vote on 7 May, if Macron and Le Pen reached the second round

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