French candidates boost security ahead of tense vote

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 21, 2017

"Immigration must be regulated because we have an economic, social and housing situation that doesn't enable us to welcome as many people who want to come here", Fillon said.

Security forces had been on the trail of the two men since December, Molins said.

The National Front (FN) leader told a rally that she wanted to stop "a mad, uncontrolled situation", reported BBC on Tuesday. Some of them threw projectiles and firecrackers. She has also argued for stronger border control as a way of limiting the impact of what she has called "twin globalizations" of wage-suppressing economic migration and Islamic terrorism. In Marseille. She reiterated her plan to expel all foreigners in a suspect file and strip dual national suspects of their French nationality.

Far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has surged to the fore in recent weeks, was clipping at their heels at 19 percent, the poll showed, while conservative leader Francois Fillon stood at 19.5 percent.

While the outcome of Sunday's first-round vote is still too close to call, latest opinion polls show centrist Emmanuel Macron still clinging to a slender lead, easing investor jitters, and the premium investors pay for holding French debt over German peers tightened sharply on Wednesday.

Nationalist Marine Le Pen and Republican Francois Fillon both attacked the 39-year-old former economy minister saying his ideas are weak and vague. "The FN top brass has made a decision to go full throttle for far-right voters".

Crowds danced on a Paris plaza as Socialist presidential candidate Benoit Hamon held what is seen as a last-chance rally and concert.

Hamon urged voters to "wake up, because you alone can avoid a nightmare for France".

Local mayor Lisette Narducci said explosives had been found after a search of an apartment near Marseille's largest train station. Le Pen said in a radio interview on Wednesday that her team had also been warned of a threat and that her security entourage had been given photos of the suspects. "It's a sort of moral red line", the newspaper said.

Polls suggest that Macron would be favourite to win in the run-off.Le Pen said the choice for French voters was between her rivals' "savage globalisation" and her patriotism.

Reacting to Le Pen's refusal to appear on France's TF1 television channel on Tuesday unless the EU's yellow-starred blue flag was removed, the commission tweeted: "Proud of our flag, a symbol of unity, solidarity and harmony between the people of Europe".

France's borrowing costs nudged down on Thursday before a bond auction that is likely to be watched more closely than usual, coming just ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

She claimed that "violence reigns in France to a point where extreme left militias and Islamo-leftists can carry out daily attacks unpunished".

"They want to transform France into a giant camp!"

The Communist-backed candidate has pledged to renegotiate some of the founding treaties of the bloc, however, which would cast serious doubt on the viability of the postwar project of integrating the continent.

However, with no major attacks on French soil since last summer, polls show that unemployment, stuck around 10 percent, and political integrity - an issue that has arisen after accusations of nepotism leveled at Fillon in particular since early this year - are bigger issues for voters.

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