Le Pen upstages frontrunner Macron in surprise visit

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, speaks to journalists after a visit at the Raymond Poincare hospital in Garches, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

French presidential contender Marine Le Pen said she is leaving her post as president of the far-right National Front Party to be a candidate for "all the French" ahead of a runoff election.

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.

The outgoing socialist president appears to be backing centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the race.

For all the paeans to Macron's unifying vision in divided times, it is now up to French voters to decide whether to entrust him with this nuclear-armed nation in the May 7 presidential runoff.

Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at LCG, said the result "sent markets into ecstasy" as they wrote off the threat of a Le Pen victory.

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".

Le Pen's National Front party, from which she distanced herself Monday, has a sordid history of racism and anti-Semitism that can not be completely erased with the purging of extremists, including her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who formerly led the National Front.

Le Pen was booed by some workers in the fruits and vegetables section. I am the presidential candidate, " adding that she wants to be "above partisan considerations".

Mr Fillon said he would vote for Mr Macron as Ms Le Pen's programme of leaving the euro currency, a referendum on European Union membership and restricting immigration "would bankrupt France" and throw the European Union into chaos.

Last week, the war of words renewed as Marine Le Pen issued another attack in an interview with RMC radio, calling herself a "feminist" who had freed herself from her authoritarian father.

Speaking to voters from the Elysee Palace, the Socialist leader said France is in danger of "becoming isolated and breaking away from the EU" if Le Pen swept to power.

Criticism came from all quarters Tuesday, including from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the long-time nationalist leader who questioned her campaign.

A win for Le Pen would also signify a greater tidal wave of nationalist thought, joining Trump's election and Brexit as indicators that citizens around the world are exhausted of prioritizing global teamwork.

"It seemed essential to me to take leave of the presidency of the FN".

While the Républicains' official line is "not to vote Le Pen", Christian Estrosi, head of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, where the FN is very strong, said any members failing to clearly call for a Macron vote should be "excluded".

  • Zachary Reyes