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01 May 2017, 04:42 | Virginia Benson
France's presidential candidates are pushing their rival worldviews, as far-right Marine Le Pen calls the euro currency "dead" and centrist Emmanuel Macron visits a Holocaust memorial and calls for political unity.
Ms. Le Pen said she had reached an agreement with Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a right-wing politician who shares her distrust of the European Union and globalization and who gathered 4.7 percent of the vote, or almost 1.7 million ballots, in the election's first round. Some groups want a united front to keep Le Pen from the presidency, but unions fear Macron will dismantle worker protections.
A week before the decisive second round in France's presidential election, many voters are sceptical that either of the two candidates can solve chronic unemployment or tackle security concerns, a poll published on Sunday found.
Macron received support on Sunday from Jean-Louis Borloo, a previous leader of the UDI, a small centrist party, but has yet to say who he would ask to lead a government. The comment was a reference to Macron's time as economy minister under the unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande. In other recent elections in Europe, populist candidates such as Norbert Hofer in Austria and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands ultimately lost because their rising popularity in polls prompted a last-minute surge in electoral activism to defeat them.
Standing on the bridge, Macron hugged Bourram's son Said, who was 9 when his father was killed.
Dupont-Aignan, 56, heads the Debout la France (France Stand Up) movement and, like Le Pen, favours pulling the nation from the eurozone.
"The transition from the single currency to the European common currency is not a pre-requisite for all economic policy, the timetable will adapt to the immediate priorities and challenges facing the French government", Le Pen wrote.
Michel Pfeffer, 74, is not a fan of Macron but is determined to vote for him next Sunday for one reason: the names of Pfeffer's father and his grandfather are etched on the wall of the Holocaust Memorial, two of the 76,000 French Jews deported to die. Le Pen also sought repeatedly to puncture Macron's argument that he represents change, calling him a lapdog of unpopular outgoing President Francois Hollande.
All the major opinion polls show Macron with a double-digit lead over Marine Le Pen in the second round, which will be held May 7.
Symbolically, however, it punctured a hole in hopes - expressed by mainstream politicians on both the left and the right - that French voters would unite against Le Pen's extremism in the runoff. The result propels Marine Le Pen and Macron into the second round of the election on May 7.
Ms Le Pen is scheduled to speak at noon Paris time and Mr Macron at 5 pm.
A quick projection of the second round of the 2017 French presidential elections via The Guardian, which will see Macron against far-Right firebrand Marine Le Pen, however, has Macron winning the French elections.
Le Pen, who has courted the blue-collar vote, visited the Alteo aluminum plant Sunday in the town of Gardanne, but the event appeared to fall flat.
On Monday, Ms Le Pen said she was stepping aside as FN leader while campaigning so as to remain "above partisan considerations".
Florian Philippot, a National Front vice president, told BFM television on Saturday that the new alliance is "excellent news" and "a turning point in this campaign".
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