French elections: Marine Le Pen gains ground on ‘feverish’ Macron as final stages loom


Voters in France will go to the polls on Sunday to elect a president for the next five years with the election taking place over two rounds. On the last day of campaigning before voters go to the ballot boxes, a poll had Marine Le Pen just two points behind Emmanuel Macron.

Ms Le Pen was runner-up to Emmanuel Macron in 2017, and this time, she is once again his closest rival.

There are 12 candidates taking part in Sunday’s election, eight men and four women. Of the six main contenders, three are from the right of French politics and two are from the left.

A month ago, Marine Le Pen was trailing President Macron by 10 points and fighting for a place in the second round against him.

Now she’s seen as the clear favourite to challenge him for the presidency ahead of Sunday’s first round.

If she does make it through to the 24 April run-off, opinion polls suggest for the first time that a Le Pen victory is within the margin of error.

“Nothing is impossible,” President Macron has warned, as polls suggest his far-right rival is closer than ever before to winning the presidency.

On Friday, Ms Le Pen took to the streets in Narbonne as she completed the final leg of campaigning.

When asked by The Telegraph what she thought of her main rival Emmanuel Macron likening the chance of her victory to Brexit, the 53-year old nationalist reiterated a mantra from her final rally the previous night: “When the people vote, the people win.”

READ MORE: Andrew Neil outlines humiliating new polling for Macron

Pointing to her pledge to fine women who wear the Islamic veil in public, he told Le Parisien: “Her fundamentals have not changed: it’s a racist programme that aims to divide society and is very brutal.”

Ms Le Pen said she found Mr Macron “very aggressive since entering the campaign”.

She said: “An electoral contest is a confrontation of ideas and projects, not a fight.

“I want a tranquil France, a serene France, a France at peace with itself.

“I challenge him to find one single proposal in my programme that discriminates against French due to their origin, religion, or skin colour because that’s racism.”


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