Date
28 July 2017
Supporters of Emmanuel Macron hold placards and French and European flags before a campaign rally in Paris. Photo: Reuters
Supporters of Emmanuel Macron hold placards and French and European flags before a campaign rally in Paris. Photo: Reuters

Macron, Le Pen trade May Day blows on day of protests

Centrist presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen attacked each other’s visions of France and the role it should play in Europe on Monday against a background of May Day rallies and protests, Reuters reports.

Macron sought for a third successive day to paint National Front (FN) candidate Le Pen as an extremist, while she portrayed him as a clone of unpopular outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande, under whom he served as economy minister from 2014 to 2016.

Two opinion polls showed Macron winning what is widely seen as France’s most important election in decades with between 59 and 61 percent of the vote.

On offer is a choice between his vision of closer integration with a modernized European Union and her calls to cut immigration and take the country out of the euro.

“I will fight up until the very last second not only against her program but also her idea of what constitutes democracy and the French Republic,” said Macron, an independent backed by a new party, En Marche! (Onwards!), which he set up a year ago.

He was speaking after paying tribute to a young Moroccan man who drowned in the River Seine in Paris 22 years ago after being pushed into the water by skinheads on the fringes of a May Day rally by the FN, then led by Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie.

Later, at a rally, he described her as “the anti-France candidate” and said “We want Europe to be strong because we want France to be strong.”

He also rejected calls from leftwing politicians to drop his business friendly reforms.

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