Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

French presidential race enters final week with May Day rallies

French presidential race enters final week with May Day rallies

French presidential far-right candidate Marine Le Pen fought off accusations of plagiarism on Tuesday as supporters of her rival Emmanuel Macron warned that a high abstention rate could hurt his chances of victory.

"France", Jean-Marie Le Pen said at his traditional May Day rally.

Polls consider Macron the front-runner in the runoff but the race has been exceptionally unpredictable.

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

The second round will take place in the middle of a weekend extended by a public holiday.

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".

"Leaving the euro is part of this package, she will do it", said 58-year-old Jean-Guy Protin, a primary school teacher from Tours.

On Saturday, Le Pen announced defeated first-round candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan as her potential prime minister, should she win the second round. At the 1995 event, a group of skinheads broke away and pushed 29-year-old Brahim Bourram off a bridge into the Seine, where he drowned.

The annual gathering is to celebrate workers' rights but this year was also used as a clarion call to block Marine Le Pen, the far-right presidential candidate.

"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.

Those set against a Le Pen presidency are wondering whether to vote blank, abstain or vote for Macron, a division visible on Monday, The Guardian says. The death drew national outrage.

Since taking over the party, she has worked hard to cleanse it of xenophobic and anti-semitic associations and make it more appealing to a wider electorate. "I don't want to do that as the next day we will get a FREXIT or again the "National Front", Macron said. "Globalisation is not only the face of those who oppress".

Florian Philippot, the deputy leader of Le Pen's Front National party, said the party "completely owned up" to the fact that the speech resembled one made by Fillon a month ago.

-This item has been corrected to show that Macron joined Bourram's son, not his father. "He is called Emmanuel Macron".

Addressing thousands at a venue outside Paris, Marine Le Pen skewered Macron, a former investment banker, as a puppet of financiers and Islamic fundamentalists, a lapdog of Socialist President Francois Hollande and a member of the "caviar left".

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