Trump suggests Le Pen to win French presidential election

Candice Alexander
April 25, 2017

Over 60,000 polling stations opened at 0600 GMT for voters who will choose between 11 candidates in the most unpredictable election in decades.

"The time has come to free the French people", she said at her election day headquarters in the northern French town of Henin-Beaumont, adding that nothing short of "the survival of France" will be at stake in the presidential runoff.

With the first round of voting in the two-stage election taking place on Sunday, far-right nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen promised tougher immigration and border controls to beat "Islamist terrorism" if elected. But Belgium's interior minister said the pseudonym did not belong to the attacker.

There are four leading candidates in a race that is still too close to call.

France voted on Sunday in the first round of a bitterly fought presidential election that could define the future of the European Union (EU), and is sure to be seen as a gauge of the anti-establishment anger that has brought upsets in Western politics.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve accused Ms. Le Pen of attempting to make political hay out of the killing, saying she was "seeking, as she does after every tragedy, to take advantage of it". Fillon, with just under 20 percent, was slightly ahead of the far-left's Jean-Luc Melenchon, who had 19 percent.

Describing the Champs Elysees shooting as an attack on democracy, he urged voters: "Do not give in to fear".

The absence in the runoff of candidates from either the mainstream left Socialists or the right-wing Republicans party - the two main political groups that have governed post-war France - also marked a seismic shift in French politics.

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Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack unusually quickly in a statement that sowed confusion by apparently misidentifying the gunman. "It's us or them", he said.

BRUSSELS-The Belgian federal prosecutor's office denied any link between Belgium and the attack on Thursday night on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, media reported on Friday.

The following November, IS gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris, and a Tunisian man rammed a truck through crowds in Nice last July, killing 86 people. There have also been attacks on a satirical weekly and a kosher store.

The possibility of a Le Pen-Melenchon run-off is not the most likely scenario but is one which alarms bankers and investors.

People on the French security services' watch list for radicalisation should also be expelled from France and have their French citizenship revoked, she said. "Anyone who pretends (otherwise) is both irresponsible and deceitful".

The American accounts were found to be even more influential than Le Pen's own official account, @MLP_Officiel, and the official Wikileaks Twitter account @Wikileaks, which has been fervently tweeting in favor of Le Pen. For Macron, a big question would be whether he could win a majority in parliament in June.

Fillon, who has slowly clawed back some ground lost after a fake jobs scandal, saw his score in the first round rise half a percentage point to 20 percent.

Other reports by VgToday

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