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French presidential front-runners Le Pen and Macron rally supporters

French presidential front-runners Le Pen and Macron rally supporters


Riding high in the opinion polls, far-right leader Marine Le Pen kick-starts her campaign to become French president with a major speech on Sunday, hammering home an anti-euro, anti-immigrant message.

Her Front National (FN) party is meeting in Lyon where her keynote address will no doubt fill the empty seats that were visible on day one of the gathering.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen launches presidential election campaign with pledge to 'free France'https://t.co/RjEFG7deFK

— The Independent (@Independent) 5 février 2017

Fellow front-runner Emmanuel Macron, also addressed crowds in Lyon this weekend – by big screen for those unable to get into his packed-out rally on Saturday.

Some 8,000 supporters did get inside to hear his centrist, pro-Europe message in person, including a thinly-veiled dig at US leader Donald Trump’s intention to build a wall along the Mexico border.

“I don’t want a new wall. I can reassure you, there will be no wall in my manifesto. We have European borders… and that is our real security,” Macron told the crowd.

Macron, a former economy minister, has surged in the polls as conservative Francois Fillon tripped up on accusations his wife got public money for work she did not do and the Socialists chose a hard-left champion.

France election: Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron hold Lyon rallies as race hots up https://t.co/70SeQceolP pic.twitter.com/j5QGTMGxtv

— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) 4 février 2017

Opinion polls suggest Macron would easily beat Le Pen in the second round, but faith in pollsters has been shaken after they failed to predict Trump’s election win or Britain’s vote last June to leave the European Union.

With Lyon the capital of French politics this weekend, veteran hard-left contender Jean-Luc Melenchon is also holding a rally in the city on Sunday.

with Reuters

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