Centrist Macron surges, but don't dismiss Le Pen

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French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is getting support from all sides of the political spectrum, as some fear what the country would be like under his rival, Marine Le Pen.

In a tweet, Ms Le Pen said she had taken leave from her role as leader of the National Front and was now only the presidential candidate. As the country's presidential race heats up, its far-right populist candidate has declared that she's ditching her party altogether to court the whole of France. She inherited her father's party and we will undoubtedly have Le Pens running for the next 20 years.

However, it's 88-year-old founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, criticised his daughter and said he would have campaigned differently. On Monday, polls in France showed about 60 percent of voters supported Macron, compared to less than 40 percent for Le Pen.

During his address, Mr Hollande claimed the purchasing power of the French people would be directly hit if Ms Le Pen wins the run-off vote on 7 May - with "unprecedented price increases" in stores and thousands of jobs being lost.

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Macron has also come under fire from potential allies and Le Pen for acting as if victory next month was already in the bag after visiting a restaurant on the Left Bank on Sunday night after his first round triumph, handing ammunition to his opponents who described it as shallow, arrogant behaviour.

On the other side, Mr Macron, a pro-business candidate, said he belongs to the "progressive camp" with a project "to make France succeed.in a stronger Europe".

"Secondly, it helps to solidify the future of the European Union and the euro, something that Marine Le Pen wants to destroy".

Macron has a commanding poll lead, with some surveys putting him about 25 points ahead of Le Pen.

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That leaves Le Pen with less than two weeks attract voters whose candidates got knocked out in the first round.

Their nearest challengers, centre-right François Fillon and hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, will now look on as they fell behind, with just over 19 percent of the vote each in the first round.

Mr Macron's internal security program calls for 10,000 more police officers and 15,000 new prison places, and he has recruited a number of security experts to his entourage.

In a televised speech from the Elysee Palace, Hollande warned that Le Pen's anti-immigrant nationalism would "deeply divide France", which has been under a state of emergency since the 2015 ISIS terror attacks.

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