Macron and Le Pen wrap up tense campaign

PARIS – The two candidates hoping to be France’s next president are making a final push for votes on the last day of campaigning before Sunday’s election.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron – who has a substantial lead in opinion polls – is visiting the southern city of Rodez.

His far-right rival, Marine Le Pen, was heckled as she arrived at Reims cathedral, in northern France.

Greenpeace activists unfurled a giant banner on the Eiffel Tower urging people to resist the rise of the National Front.

Macron said that he had already decided who his prime minister would be, if he were elected on Sunday.

The former economy minister implied that the person themselves did not know. His prime minister would reflect the spirit of renewal he had built, Macron added.

He also said that he would introduce an element of proportional representation for elections to France’s National Assembly within his first year in office.

Le Pen, who stepped aside as leader of the National Front (FN) to fight the election, has already announced that her prime minister would be the mainstream nationalist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who was defeated in the first round.

Le Pen met representatives of a police trade union in the morning, before travelling to Reims cathedral.

Footage from outside the cathedral showed crowds of protesters, who were students or supporters of Macron or defeated far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, shouting slogans hostile to Le Pen.

The candidate condemned the protest, tweeting (in French): “Mr Macron’s supporters are violent everywhere, even in Reims cathedral, symbolic and sacred place. No dignity.”

An ecclesiastical visit was also on the agenda for her rival – Macron posted video of himself touring Rodez cathedral, referencing “our thousand-year history”.

Dupont-Aignan said on Friday that Emmanuel Macron was “a dangerous candidate” for France.

Le Pen, interviewed on RTL, said Mr Macron’s decisions would lead to the dissolution of France, with “migratory submersion” and “social devastation”.

Meanwhile Mr Macron filed a lawsuit over online rumours that he had a secret bank account in the Caribbean.

He has strongly denied the allegations, which were mentioned by Le Pen in Wednesday evening’s rancorous final TV debate between the two contenders.

An opinion poll by the Odoxa Institute for France Info predicted Sunday’s election would have the lowest turnout of any second-round presidential vote in France since 1969. The institute reported that far-left voters were particularly unlikely to vote.

On Friday the campaign group Greenpeace unfurled a large banner with an anti-FN message from the Eiffel Tower in central Paris.

Source: (BBC)

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