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Le Pen pitches for mainstream-right vote in French presidential battle

media French presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron (L) and Marine Le Pen AFP

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron have started campaigning in what promises to be a hard-fought second round of France's 2017 presidential elections. Meanwhile, the mainstream-right Republicans were licking their wounds after the defeat of their candidate, François Fillon.

Official final results published on Monday showed Macron with 24.01 percent, Le Pen 21.3, and Fillon 20,01 percent, 1.29 points higher thant the first projection gave him.

Fillon’s failure to reach the second round forced him to bow out of leading the party's campaign in the parliamentary elections that will follow the presidential polll and has left the Republicans in disarray.

“Now is not the time to choose a new boss, if you know what I mean," said MP and Meaux mayor Jean-François Copé, a former head of the party that preceded the Republicans. "We first have to think of getting together a group of people to ensure that the MPs will win as many seats as possible in the parliamentary elections, so we can bring things into balance."

Second campaigning period 25/04/2017 - by Jan van der Made Listen


Fillon and some other Republicans leaders called upon their voters to vote for Macron in the second round to block Le Pen.

But that did not go down well with everybody.

“The suggestion to vote for Emmanuel Hollande shocks me," said Euro-MP Nadine Morano, making a joke that insinuates that Macron is a puppet of the incumbent president. “He he has a non-programme that I’ve fought and today, suddenly, without concessions, without debate, [we have to vote for him?] This election has been like suicide for our political family in the end, and I am not going to participate in its funeral!”

Le Pen bids for mainstream-right votes

Marine Le Pen, who started campaigning again on Monday, took up the Republicans' nickname for Macron - "Hollande's Baby"  - in a television interview, in an apparent bid to win over the party's voters.

Macron hit the campaign trail, as well. And even if the polls say he may win more than 60 percent, it is going to be a tough fight.

In 2002 Marine’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, managed to reach the second round, beating Socialist candidate Lionel Jospin.

In the 2002 first round, Chirac won 19.88 percent, Le Pen had 16.86 percent and Jospin 16.18 percent. In the second round, Chirac got 82 percent and Le Pen only 18.

If polls for the 2017 elections prove to be accurate and Macron wins with 60 percent, it would still mean that support for the National Front has more than doubled since then.

But the fight is not over and, even if Macron will have the support of many former Socialist voters, it is far from clear how supporters of other candidates will vote.

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