France election: Macron says European Union must reform or face 'Frexit'

This combination of file pictures created on April 30, 2017 in Paris shows a December 10, 2016 photo of French presidential election candidate for the En-Marche movement, Emmanuel Macron (L) speaking during a campaign rally in Paris, and a March 11, 2017 photo of French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party, Marine Le Pen speaking during a campaign rally in Deols.

French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron hunted Saturday for votes in rural France where his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, is making inroads among country folk who feel left behind.

Ms. Le Pen said she had reached an agreement with Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a right-wing politician who shares her distrust of the European Union and globalization and who gathered 4.7 percent of the vote, or almost 1.7 million ballots, in the election's first round.

What is more, Mr Macron considered the Front National as a party like any other when asked whether it was appropriate to hold a televised debate with Ms Le Pen.

A week before a decisive second round in France's presidential election, many voters are skeptical that either of the two candidates can solve chronic unemployment or tackle security concerns, a poll published on Sunday found.

Said, a chauffeur who supports Macron, said his father was targeted "because he was a foreigner, an Arab".

"We will form a government of national unity that brings together people chosen for their competence and their love of France", Le Pen told a Paris news conference, sitting side-by-side with her choice for premier. Relativism and anti-establishment sentiment are trending in French public opinion, and electoral forecasts predict a surge in abstention rates among potential Macron voters.

Jean-Marie Le Pen is holding the Joan of Arc event again, a march his daughter wants nothing to do with.




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

She has worked assiduously to try to rid the party of its more extreme edge - and kicked her father out of it after he repeatedly described Nazi gas chambers as a "detail of history".

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.

Le Pen travelled to Marseille on Sunday to speak on the environment, a key issue for Melenchon supporters, while Macron visited the Holocaust memorial in Paris. But the momentum has recently been with Le Pen, who has clawed back about five percentage points over the past week.

During his visit to the Shoah Memorial, Macron declared: "I wanted on this important memorial day to honor the memory of all those whose names are engraved on the wall".

Political tensions are rising in the run up to the final round of the election on Sunday, in which Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, is expected to beat Ms Le Pen. Macron faces far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in a May 7 runoff election.

Nassar noted that Ms Le Pen was now attempting to destroy Franco-German cooperation.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and Marine Le Pen shake hands at the end of a joint statement at FN headquarters in Paris.

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