Marine Le Pen slips behind Emmanuel Macron in French election race

It is unclear what impact the attack will have on the first round of already very unpredictable presidential elections on Sunday. But the polls also showed that decision was largely in the hands of the one-in-three voters who are still undecided.

He said there have been 22 attacks in France since January 2015, yet French leaders have not moved away from the country's "open border" policies. France's 10 per cent unemployment, its lacklustre economy and security issues top voters' concerns.

She hailed the Brexit vote and election of Trump as the start of a new world order and was seen at Trump Tower earlier this year but refused to disclose if she was meeting the new United States president.

Macron, a former economy minister who has little security experience, adopted a more measured tone than Le Pen and Fillon in Thursday's debate, cautioning France would have to live with terrorism for many years to come.

However, conservative former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, whose campaign was initially derailed by corruption allegations that his wife was paid as his non-working parliamentary aide, appeared to be closing the gap, as was far-leftist, Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Cazeneuve said some 50,000 police and gendarmes will be deployed to provide security during the first-round vote on April 23, with an additional 7,000 soldiers also on patrol, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. Prosecitors said a note praising ISIS fell out of his pocket, although there was no previous evidence of radicalization.

Of almost 47 million registered French voters, there are fewer than a million resident in far-flung places like French Polynesia in the South Pacific, and Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Martinique in the Caribbean.

The French consulate in NY, where expatriates were casting ballots, was also briefly evacuated late Saturday after a suspicious vehicle raised fears of a bomb threat.

The Champs Elysees shooting is the latest in a series of attacks by Islamist militants on France in recent years in which more than 200 people have been killed.

Jones noted yesterday's terror attack in Paris and said Le Pen is the only one responding, proposing that suspected terrorists be expelled from the country. Macron also accused his rivals of trying to capitalise on the attack, and urged voters not to give in to fear.

On Saturday, police arrested a man carrying a knife at Paris's Gare du Nord station, briefly causing panic as some passengers rushed out of the way.

Marise Moron, a retired doctor, says "Terrorism is now an everyday occurrence". It's permanent, 24 hours a day.

A common scenario entertained by analysts sees pro-EU Macron and anti-EU Le Pen advance to the second round, where moderate citizens from the left and right will vote Macron over Le Pen giving him a clean victory.

At midday Sunday, the ministry said that 28.54 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballot, compared with 28.29 percent in 2012.

In the wake of the attack, Le Pen said "this war against us is ceaseless and merciless", and charged that the outgoing Socialist government and its right wing predecessor had "done everything to ensure that we lose" the fight.

A French exit could spell the end of the EU.

Interestingly, Le Pen, a member of the extreme right Front National party, is at the top of the polls to win the first, if not the second, election.

Le Pen wants to take France out of the euro and hold a referendum on the country's membership in the European Union.

Many French workers who have lost out by globalization are fed up with establishment parties and attracted by promises of ditching the status quo.

The other two major candidates, Mr Macron and Mr Melenchon, however, are not seen as being strong on security issues.

Like Trump, Le Pen's campaign was defined by vehemently anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

  • Leroy Wright