Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

All Eyes on the First-Round Voting of the French Election

French voters know that, similar to Trump, Le Pen is the only candidate who will address lax borders and a broken immigration system contributing to national security problems.

As of Friday morning local time, leading candidates François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen had all canceled campaign events, with Macron citing the extra burden policing political rallies placed on the security services.

Seizing on Thursday night's killing of a police officer in an attack claimed by Islamic State, Le Pen, who has been campaigning on a hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration platform, urged the Socialist government to carry out immediately measures that are included in her campaign manifesto. "Just never ends", Trump said. He was also convicted in 2003 of attempted homicide in the shootings of two police officers.

Speaking Friday on RTL radio, Macron said: "What our attackers want is death, symbolism, to sow panic (and) to disturb a democratic process, which is the presidential election".

With voters in a rebellious mood and many still hesitant about their choices, the identities of the two candidates who will progress to a winner-takes-all May 7 runoff remain anyone's guess.

With only two days left to go until election day, polls continue to show left-wing candidate Emmanuel Macron virtually neck and neck with right-wing populist candidate Marine Le Pen, each polling around 23 to 25 percent.

The attack was swiftly claimed by militant Islamist group Islamic State.

The Champs-Elysees gunman had been detained in February for threatening police but then freed, two officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

Police commander Christophe Voreux said Thursday that the two parliamentary aides and a member of Fillon's security detail were dining in a fast-food restaurant when someone broke into their hire vehicle parked outside. The country was rocked by an attack on Nice a year ago, when 86 people were killed after a truck was driven into crowds on Bastille Day, and Paris in November 2015, when 130 were murdered in coordinated suicide bombings and mass shootings around the city.

"I'll be a bit like everyone and follow the opinion polls", said would-be Hamon voter Guillaume Deslandes, who was considering switching to Macron.

Shortly after the attack, pundits said it would benefit the hard-line and anti-Muslim Le Pen in the elections, which are scheduled for Sunday with the first round.

Elena Worms, walking her dog near the Champs-Elysees, called the attack "destabilizing" and said she fears it will "push people to the extremes".

His "plan B", should reform discussions fail, would be to put France's exit from the European Union to a referendum just as Britain did last summer.

For the fourth time in as many weeks, Europe has been the setting of a significant terrorist attack, again bringing chaos to the geographic and cultural heart of one of the continent's major cities. He also wants to take France out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, bring energy companies under state control and substantially raise taxes on the rich. The two top vote-getters on Sunday will advance to the May 7 presidential runoff.

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