Macron, Le Pen trade accusations in French election race

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Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has upstaged her centrist opponent Emmanuel Macron. "My battle is to defeat Marine Le Pen". "Furthermore, I think that slaughter without stunning should be prohibited". The pro-EU centrist must walk a fine line between defending his program to tackle France's chronic unemployment without falling into the trap that befell winners in previous elections of struggling to keep campaign promises.

French far-right presidential contender Marine Le Pen has called for more food to be produced and consumed in the country.

Macron picked up 23.8 percent of the vote to Le Pen's 21.5 percent in Sunday's first round, which saw a higher than expected turnout of 79 percent, according to the French interior ministry.

In another sign of his influence, the National Front has borrowed about 6 million euros from a political fundraising association he heads.

Ms Le Pen took over the FN leadership from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in January 2011.

However, he is fiercely opposed to her anti-immigrant stance and to her focus on radical Islam as one of the roots of France's troubles.

But she is seeking all the same to distance herself from the toxic legacy of her father and the xenophobic and anti-semitic undertones of his previous campaigns.

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European Union lawmakers have already sanctioned Ms Le Pen for misspending European Union funds and her monthly salary has been slashed by half. "I am the candidate for the French presidency", she said.

In a solemn address from the Elysee palace, Hollande said he would vote for Macron, his former economy minister, because Le Pen represents "both the danger of the isolation of France and of rupture with the European Union".

"She can win and that's why I'll be voting in two weeks, if she does [win] then it's a failure for France".

Elodie said she was shocked that Macron had made the second round at the expense of conservative candidate Fillon.

She told Al Jazeera she does not support Le Pen but sexism would count against her. "France is less open minded than people believe", she said.

In the 2012 presidential race, Socialist Francois Hollande traveled to a closure-threatened steel plant in eastern France's rust belt in a similar pursuit of blue-collar votes.

"Marine Le Pen can not win because she's a woman. Macron in the Elysee (palace) is already a revolution, Le Pen won't win now, and neither will she in 2022".

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