French candidates boost security ahead of tense vote

The top two candidates will meet in a runoff on May 7.

Mr Melenchon and the 10 other presidential candidates appeared on a television programme on Thursday night where they are scheduled to speak one after another.

The four-candidate battle to reach the run-off in France's presidential election is putting pollsters to the test as never before.

Polls done in advance of the first round of voting show Macron and challenger Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front Party, with a slight edge, according to The Washington Post.

Hamon won the Socialist primary but the party is deeply divided, and Socialist President Francois Hollande is so unpopular that he's not seeking a second term.

Opponents of Le Pen and her anti-immigration National Front party also skirmished with police outside a Paris rally this week.

Le Pen dismissed as "folly" government statements that France, which has been subjected to multiple deadly attacks in recent years, must be prepared to live with the threat of terrorism.

"This vast army in the shadows who want us to live in not a fatality", she told the cheering crowd. France's presidential candidates certainly think they do, and more than ever are trying to get their political message across through their wardrobes, from centrist Emmanuel Macron's regular-guy suits to far right leader Marine Le Pen's masculine dark wardrobe and hard-left Jean-Luc Melenchon's communist-inspired jackets. It's in France, where many speculate that the future of the European Union will be decided. She said Wednesday that "I am a candidate in the election for the French republic" and said Europe is acting like France's "enemy".

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