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Le Pen, Macron tied in run-up to French electionm says Elabe poll

12 April, 2017, 02:42 | Author: Paula Vaughn
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Emmanuel Macron, an independent French presidential candidate, says his far-right rival Marine Le Pen made "a serious mistake" by denying that France State was responsible for the roundup of Jews in World War II.

The turbulent presidential campaign has grown increasingly bitter in recent weeks as candidates eye the finishing line.

Le Pen is neck-and-neck with Macron ahead of the first round of the election, set for April 23.

For years, her principal political obstacle has been convincing her critics that she has sufficiently distanced herself from the fraught past of the National Front, a far-right, extremist fringe coalition her father founded in the mid-1970s and that - in the current anti-establishment climate - she could now carry to power for the first time.

Macron responded on Sud Radio: "Mr Fillon is a man of little worth". In the wake of the interview, Le Pen has been condemned by the Israeli government, Jewish organizations, and her political opponents, including fellow presidential contender Emmanuel Macron, who is now neck and neck with Le Pen at the top of the latest polls.

Conservative Francois Fillon and surging leftist radical Jean-Luc Melenchon are locked in a close contest for third with between 17 and 19 percent each.

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Macron, a centrist and favoured to win France's two-part election if he makes it to a run-off on May 7, said he would require firms like Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter to rapidly remove any extremist propaganda from their sites. Other polls have shown a similar picture. Commentators therefore caution that the picture could easily change with the fortunes of candidates being affected by a sudden misstep on the stump or an ill-chosen word.

French resistance fighters held by Vichy regime militias during World War II. But many senior Socialists have defected to his cause.

On Tuesday he said he had sensed a "change of attitude" on the campaign trail. "They are suggesting to you that you don't need to vote because everything is already decided", he said. That is bringing "Frexit" fears back to the fore, rattling financial markets this week.

Unusually, the Elabe poll of around 1,000 voters on Tuesday tested a variety of hypothetical second-round matchups.

Asked about French complicity in the Holocaust, Le Pen downplayed France's role during the Vichy regime when French police rounded up some 13,000 Jews and carted them to a cycling track on the west side of Paris in 1942.

The National Front has a long and ugly history of downplaying the Holocaust, which her father, former National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, has called a "detail" of history. A self-described patriot, Le Pen hopes to extract France from the European Union and do away with France's membership in the shared euro currency.

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