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Marine Le Pen supporters shrug off euro flip-flops, back Frexit idea

10 May 2017

Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for French 2017 presidential election, arrives at her campaign headquarters in Paris, France, April 28, 2017.

France votes for a new president on Sunday (Monday NZ Time), a ballot being watched closely by financial markets and France's neighbours as a test of the global populist wave.

Polls put Le Pen's rival, the liberal centrist Emmanuel Macron, comfortably ahead on 60 percent support to her 40 percent.

Whether she wanted it or not, Le Pen got an endorsement from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who co-founded the National Front party she now leads.

The National Front traditionally holds a May Day march in Paris to honor Joan of Arc.

"He wants to dynamize the economy, but he is among those who dynamited it", the elderly Le Pen said, referring to France's stagnant economy and high jobless rate around 10 percent, and Macron's role in it as one-time economy minister. Some of the trade unions opposed the right-wing presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, Fekl said.

Earlier, Ms Le Pen's estranged 88-year-old father and the founder of the FN was at a rally by the statue of Joan of Arc, a long-time symbol of patriotism for the FN.

Less than a week before Sunday's runoff, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron are holding separate rallies Monday.

"What the National Front candidate proposes is a one way ticket".

Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron will go head to head in the final presidential run off on Sunday, May 7. "He is called Emmanuel Macron".

"Today", she told a crowd of several thousand, "the adversary of of the French people is still the world of finance, but this time it has a name, it has a face, it has a party, it is fielding its candidate who could be elected". Macron, who has pulled support from the right and the left, said Tuesday candidates will have to quit their parties to run in his movement.

Le Pen has portrayed her pro-EU rival as a continuation of the current, unpopular, Socialist government he was once part of, while labelling herself the candidate of change, belief and action.

Le Pen, who takes a tough stance on Islam, immigration and French identity, could be well placed to mop up such votes in the second round, where the victor must secure majority backing.

"She is the only one with convictions", he said, adding that Macron, in trying to please everybody, "says yes to everything".

Some factions are going against their leadership to call for members to vote "neither (for Ms Le Pen) nor (for Mr Macron)" - seen by many leftists as an enemy of the worker.

French newspapers and media all highlighted the similarities between Ms Le Pen's speech at her rally on May 1 and one by Mr Fillon given on April 15 before he was knocked out of the presidential contest.