France's Le Pen upstages rival Macron at factory

He still supports her candidacy in the presidential runoff on May 7 against centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron but he and his daughter have had strong political disagreements along the way.

(AP Photo/Francois Mori). French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, center, enters his auto after a ceremony marking 102nd anniversary of the slaying of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in a brief ceremony, Monday April 24, 2017 in Paris. "I am the candidate for the French presidency", she said. French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, 2nd right, poses for a picture after a visit at the Raymond Poincare hospital in Garches, outside Paris, France, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

France is bracing itself for a momentous presidential vote, with one of the two run-off spots nearly certainly reserved for Marine Le Pen, the National Front leader who wants to hold a "Frexit" referendum on the country's membership of the EU.

He said he would become "an ordinary activist like any other".

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

Jean-Marie Le Pen, who repeatedly has been convicted of crimes based on anti-Semitism and racism, founded the far-right National Front party that his daughter Marine now leads. The factory is doomed to closure in favor of cheaper labor in Poland.

"The people will probably reserve a very big surprise for the oligarchy", the anti-establishment candidate said, referring to elite decision-makers, including Macron, who is a former economy minister and investment banker.

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. She has made a surprise campaign stop to a home appliance factory that's the latest hot-button symbol of French job losses to plants overseas.

After the first round, financial markets jumped as prospects appeared to diminish of Le Pen taking France out of the euro and the European Union as she has promised to do. Standing amid its workers in yellow hazard vests, she declared herself the candidate of France's workers.

Those are "two clear offers that come face to face", Macron said on French public television.

The pro-EU centrist had to tread a fine line between defending his programme to tackle France's chronic unemployment without falling into the trap of making campaign promises that, if he wins, he could struggle to keep.

Dominique Reynie, head of the Foundation for Political Innovation think-tank in Paris, believes Le Pen will not be elected because most French people worry about her scrapping the euro.

  • Leroy Wright