Melenchon Gains Momentum As French Election Enters Final Straight

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Melenchon Gains Momentum As French Election Enters Final Straight

The polls tip Macron to beat National Front leader Le Pen in a runoff between the two leading candidates on May 7.

Le Pen could win, though.

Outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande told a French television program broadcast on Sunday that he would personally feel "guilty" if Le Pen became president, bringing a far right party to power in France. Do voters judge a book by its cover?

(AP Photo/Claude Paris, File). FILE - In this April 9 2017 file photo, French hard-left presidential candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon, speaks in Marseille, southern France.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File). (In Motion!), in Paris.

"I know a British man speaking on an American show about the Republic of France is basically French kryptonite", Oliver said.

The French public is said to overwhelmingly oppose European Union policies, 12 years after they voted to reject the European Union constitution in a referendum result that was never ratified.

Several dozen left-wing protesters clashed with police outside the venue before the speech.

There are now 11 candidates running with traditional Republican Francois Fillon's campaign still facing issues over the employment scandal plaguing his family polling at 19 per cent. Under the French system, if no presi- dential candidate gains more than half the vote, the top two candidates are pitted against each other in a second round of voting 14 days later.

That is rattling markets and prompting attacks from his rivals.

"Give us France back, for God's sake", she said, prompting from the crowd of about 5,000 the National Front's (FN) traditional "This is our home!" chant. Mr. Melenchon "invented political stand-up".

"I am not from the far left", he told newspaper La Parisien Sunday. That said, Austrians rejected their far-right Freedom Party in December.

There's Emmanuel Macron, a centrist former banker who is pro-Europe, pro-business and wants to build France's economy.

Melenchon gained one point in the same poll to 18 percent, confirming the election is now a four-way race and making it impossible to predict with certainty which two candidates will contest a deciding run-off on May 7. And conservative Francois Fillon is taking his tough-on-security campaign to Nice, scarred by a deadly truck attack previous year.

The race is being watched internationally as an important gauge of populist sentiment, captured notably by Le Pen, with her nationalist program presented under the slogan "In the Name of the People". National Front leader Le Pen was at 26.5 percent in mid-March.

When asked whether religious leaders have a right to enter into public debates, Le Pen replied: "I don't get involved with what the Pope should say to his followers. I have not been given gifts".

Fillon is accused of paying his wife for work she never did, but he's convinced the scandal won't hurt his chances on election day.

French judges investigating her alleged misuse of European Union funds to pay for party assistants have asked for her parliamentary immunity to be lifted, though her legal woes have not been as harmful to her in the polls as the allegations of nepotism that have plagued Fillon's campaign.

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