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French presidential candidates make appeals in last TV pitch

22 April 2017

Francois Fillon, member of the Republicans political party and 2017 presidential election candidate of the French centre-right (R), and Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate, attend the France 2 television special prime time political show, "15min to Convince" in Saint-Cloud, near Paris, France, April 20, 2017.

While he was still seen winning the first round with 24.5 per cent, his score slipped half a percentage point while Le Pen's rose by one to 23 per cent.

Former President Obama jumped into the fray on Thursday when he gave a call to Macron to wish him luck.

Following the arrests this week of two men suspected of preparing an "imminent violent attack" in Marseilles, Some 50,000 policemen and soldiers will be deployed for the two election rounds, French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said.

The attack came conspicuously in the middle of a primetime televised debate for the four frontrunners and seven other presidential candidates, spurring speculation the assailant, Karim Cheurfi, was actively trying to sway the election.

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The big risk for currency markets is Le Pen's opposition to the euro and France's European Union membership but even if she makes it into the run-off as expected, the odds of her beating Macron or conservative Francois Fillon are rated as low.

In line with the run-in to the United States election and Brexit referendum past year, most investors looked to have moved to minimise their exposure going into the vote.

With her strong stance on Islam and terrorism, if any candidate will benefit from Thursday's attack, Le Pen is the likely option.

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The Euro steadied against the US Dollar and held below the recently struck 3-week peak as the first round of the French presidential voting nears.

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"The people of France will not take much more of this", he added.

ISIS swiftly claimed the attack was carried out by one of its "fighters".

The shooting abruptly pushed national security up the agenda, potentially making the outcome of Sunday's first round vote even more hard to call. In addition, Le Pen will block the flow of migrants, capping refugee totals to 10,000 per year.

France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead.

French police are hunting a man identified by Belgian security services in connection with an attack on police officers in Paris Thursday, a French interior ministry spokesman said.

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Cazeneuve, however, questioned Fillon's position on security, saying that when he previously served as Prime Minister he had cut thousands of security force jobs.

French presidential candidates make appeals in last TV pitch