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

Obama's phone call hints at support for Macron in French election

Obama's phone call hints at support for Macron in French election

The attack appeared to fit in a spreading pattern of French extremists targeting security forces and symbols of the state, to discredit, take vengeance and destabilize.

The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday - before the shootout in which the attacker also died and two other police officers were injured.

For Sunday's vote, the government is mobilizing more than 50,000 police and gendarmes to protect the 70,000 polling stations, with an additional 7,000 soldiers also on patrol. It will determine if the wave of nationalist populism sweeping across the globe will continue to reshape the global landscape. Or whether perhaps globalization - a dominant political and economic ideology - can survive and thrive in the 21st century.

The euro rose to a three-week high against the USA dollar on Thursday as some traders shut down broad bets against the common currency ahead of the first round of the French presidential elections on Sunday.

"And as for Emmanuel Macron, for me, he's lacking something in his manifesto and any sort of social programme".

Le Pen has raised the tone of her party's traditional rhetoric, especially her anti-immigration and Europe stance, and focused on security issues.

A Harris Interactive poll on Thursday showed Macron and Le Pen still in front, with the gap a bit wider than before.

Polls on the race to succeed the deeply unpopular socialist President Francois Hollande are so close that gaps between candidates fall within the margin of error.

They explain that they do not want to repeat the "tragedy" of the Clinton / Trump choice, and they refuse to accept that the French presidential election should be limited to a choice between the candidate "of the liberal establishment" and "the populism of the xenophobic right".

"But for whom they are going to vote I don't know".

Voters' dissatisfaction is hard to understand in a country where the standard of living is among the world's highest. "Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker", he added.

Incredibly, with just a few days left, nearly half the voters I spoke with remain undecided. But what could rattle markets more is a victory for Melenchon, who has promised to rework the treaties that set the framework for the European Union and then hold a referendum on whether to remain in the bloc.

"This war against us is ceaseless and merciless", she said in a sternly worded address, blasting the "monstrous totalitarian ideology" behind Thursday night's attack by a 39-year-old Frenchman known for his links to jihadists.

Her boyfriend, Jeremy Entressangle, will vote.

The paper also reported that Macron's chief rival for the presidency, National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, would not campaign Friday out of respect for the victims. Endorsed by the Communist Party, he proposes taxing incomes above $425,000 at 100%, essentially making that the maximum income allowed.

Since Sunday is only the first ballot, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff on May 7. He is running a close third in the polls - which means it's possible, though not likely, that the second round could be Le Pen vs. Mélenchon.

But what are the chances these two emerge as the victors?

The details of Fillon and Le Pen's final electoral rallies have been kept under wraps.

The market's conventional wisdom had for months held that Sunday's result would produce a second-round showdown between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who wants to pull France from the EU. On the home front he wants to reduce the working week to 32 hours, cap executive pay at no more than 20 times the minimum wage, ban leveraged buyouts, break up French banks and pull France out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Even a Macron-Le Pen face-off would not calm markets entirely.

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