France's president warns of complacency over Le Pen

There are voters out there she could win over.

Corbiere however told French TV channel LCI earlier on Wednesday that "for us the National Front is a danger" and urged viewers to not give "a single vote to the National Front". He says there is no such thing as French culture.

Another protest, dubbed "Neither Le Pen Nor Macron", is due to take place on the Place de la République on Thursday. On Monday, polls in France showed about 60 percent of voters supported Macron, compared to less than 40 percent for Le Pen.

On the one hand, an urban, pro-European electorate backing Macron, and on the other an anti-EU, working class supporting Le Pen. "They share our values and their ideas are quite similar to ours on Islamic fundamentalism, immigration, work and national identity".

Melenchon's spokesman Alexis Corbiere said the hard-left firebrand would not endorse anyone. "Le Pen's project will fix nothing of the Whirlpool problem, nothing". "Marine Le Pen is a veteran politician".

"Secondly, it helps to solidify the future of the European Union and the euro, something that Marine Le Pen wants to destroy".

Macron has seduced mostly big cities, Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, and the west of the country.

The uniting of the political spectrum to keep the far-right out of power has become known as the Republican Front.

"Each of you knows in your conscience what your duty is", was all he told supporters.

In a symbolic move created to widen her appeal, Le Pen announced Monday she would temporarily step away from her National Front (FN) party - still seen as toxic by many French voters.

During Le Pen's unannounced visit to the factory, where she had been met with enthusiasm, she accused Macron of protecting the interests of oligarchs.

Cecile Delpirou, the CFE-CGC union's representative at the plant, said staff at Whirlpool had been given no warning of Le Pen's visit.

"We have collectively made the National Front normal", he lamented.

Mr Sala said: "Marine Le Pen has experience and to me, the ultimate test in this world that we live in, which is a very unsafe world, is you have to be a leader who has to play in the big league with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin".

However this is not what pollsters predict.

What about the voters out there? It is largely symbolic, as she will only temporarily be replaced by the party's vice president, Jean-François Jalkh, for two weeks, allowing her to concentrate exclusively on the presidential campaign.

Le Pen seized on Whirlpool as a sign of the EU's ills, calling it "the symbol of this odious globalization, which leads to plants moving overseas, destroying thousands of jobs". And many disgruntled voters may stay home.

The abstention rate in the first round was 21.3 percent, far lower that everyone expected. Similarly, although she did poorly in some more urbanised departments, she also did well in some more densely populated areas.

Macron as he arrived on site was welcomed by whistling and shouting, sometimes booed and amid cries of "Marine President". "He is addressing them", she said, adding that unlike Macron she had campaigned in rural France.

She issued a scathing attack on her father at the time, accusing him of trying to "hijack the Front National with vulgar provocations".

But it's still doubtful, although far from impossible that she will get to the magic 50 percent mark.

  • Leroy Wright