Lunes, 18 Marcha, 2019

French election: Paris attack puts security top among rivals

How the Paris police shooting could shape the French election Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images
Eleena Tovar | 23 Abril, 2017, 11:40

Of course it is natural to assume that a terrorist attack two days before voting might benefit the candidate who is "strongest on borders" (notwithstanding that the attacker is believed to have been a French national).

In the second round, Macron loses one point against Le Pen but continues commanding a robust lead of 64% from 65% against 36%.

Le Pen and independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron are the two leading candidates, with center-right candidate Francios Fillon and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon also in contention.

Trump made his remarks on Friday in an interview with The Associated Press, which said the president maintained he was "not explicitly endorsing Le Pen".

However, the European Union is not the only dividing line, with candidates holding sharply contrasting views on immigration, economic policy, and the country's Muslim population.

Like Le Pen and Macron, Fillon, the rightwing candidate whose campaign has been hit by allegations he paid his wife, Penelope, public money for parliamentary assistance she did not provide, cancelled planned end-of-campaign meetings on Friday.

Fillon of The Republicans party said that if elected, his foreign policy priority would be the destruction of ISIS.

"New restrictive regulations on immigration, asylum or citizenship must be taken", she said.

The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind the attack in Paris - a city still scarred by bloody IS attacks in 2015.

The two top finishers in Sunday's election will advance to a run-off on 7 May.

Polling companies put the number of those planning not to vote or casting blank ballots at almost 30 percent, with many others, half the electorate according to some estimates, undecided about who to vote for.

Security is a prominent issue after a wave of extremist attacks on French soil, including the gunman who killed a Paris police officer Thursday before being shot dead by security forces.

"There's a very slow but steady stream of voters at a polling station in the 19 Arrondissement", he said.

That episode is widely speculated as likely to aid Le Pen in the final hours of the campaign, reinforcing the dangers posed by terrorism.

France's 10 percent unemployment and its lackluster economy top voters' concerns as first-round ballots are cast this weekend in the most nail-biting French election in generations. "They can not bear the political life led by the elites".

Caroline Rostain, 41, said she was surprised by a campaign that included corruption allegations and fluctuating polls.

France will be voting under tight security with over 50,000 police and other security branches fully mobilised for special election duty.

Polling stations are due to close between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. local time (1800-1900GMT) for some cities, which will push the announcement of preliminary results to around 9 p.m. (2000GMT) local time, slightly later than usual as the close race is expected to complicate and delay the results.

"The election of Marine Le Pen would make Brexit look trivial by comparison".