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Chasing pair Fillon, Melenchon level as French election nears
20 April 2017, 06:07 | Erica Roy
Only a few weeks ago, it appeared nearly guaranteed that the French electorate would vote for a face off between National Front Leader Marine Le Pen and independent candidate Emmanuel Macron.
He was reacting to the European Commission's representative office in France, which posted on Twitter, "Proud of our flag, symbol of unity, solidarity and harmony between the peoples of Europe".
The Paris prosecutor said on Tuesday that a video linked to the two Frenchmen and intercepted in early April had featured a machine gun placed on a table as well as a newspaper which had one of the presidential candidates on the front page.
Crowds danced on a Paris plaza at what was seen as a last-chance rally for Hamon, polling a distant fifth place ahead of Sunday's vote, which will send the top two vote-getters to a decisive runoff election May 7.
A new poll out Wednesday showed Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron sharing first place.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron, who launched his own "En Marche" ("Forward" or "On the Move") political group, was still leading in the most recent Cevipof opinion poll published on Wednesday, with 23 percent support for the first round.
The Grand Mosque of Lyon issued an appeal urging Muslims to cast ballots instead of isolating themselves, "so that all the children of France, regardless of their skin color, their origins or their religion, are fully involved in the future of their country". He pledges a universal income, tax on robots and legal cannabis.
France's fight against home-grown and overseas Islamic extremism has been one of the main campaign topics for presidential candidates. A defeat by Hamon could crush the party of unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande, who chose not to seek a second term.
A hologram of French Left party leader and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election Jean-Luc Melenchon speaks to supporters who gathered in Grenoble, southeastern France, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Authorities announced Tuesday that they had arrested two Islamic radicals suspected of plotting a possible attack around the vote.
Le Pen takes a similar stance to Trump, the focus of her policies are France first, including anti-globalization, anti-immigrants, trade protectionism, repealing the Euro and reusing the Franc, and most noticeably: making France leave the EU.
Police have refused to identify their proposed target but Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen have both been named by media as potential victims, with sources saying their personal security teams were warned several days ago.
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