Four Candidates Fight For French Presidency With One Week To Go

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Four candidates are in a tight race for the French presidency as the campaign enters its final week before the first round of voting April 23.

The latest polls show four candidates are within three percentage points of each other. Centrist Emmanuel Macron and populist Marine Le Pen are tied at 22 percent. Communist-backed candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and conservative François Fillon stand at 20 percent and 19 percent respectively.

The top two candidates will go up against each other in a run-off election May 7. One in three eligible voters are still undecided, which makes the last week of campaigning crucial.

“All scenarios are possible for April 23,” the BVA pollsters told Reuters Friday. “A second round with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen remains the most likely hypothesis, but nothing excludes that Francois Fillon or Jean-Luc Melenchon would qualify instead.”

Mélenchon — who wants to take the country out of the eurozone and NATO while massively increasing public spending — has enjoyed the greatest surge in recent weeks and he is now trying to erase his label as a radical politician.

“I am not from the far left,” he told newspaper La Parisien Sunday.

The idea possibility of a run-off election between Mélenchon and Le Pen is nightmare scenario for the European Union as both candidates are eurosceptic.

Le Pen is trying to convince voters that she is the best person to protect France from further terror attacks by accusing Macron and Fillon of not taking radical Islam seriously.

“With Mr Macron, it would be Islamism on the move,” Le Pen said at a rally Sunday, according to The Local.

Fillon was an early favorite in the race but his alleged misuse of public funds led to a free fall in the polls. Fillon is accused of paying his wife for work she never did, but he’s convinced the scandal won’t hurt his chances on election day.

“I know I will be in the second round,” Fillon told weekly newspaper JDD Sunday. “I can’t imagine another scenario.”

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