France’s communists called on the country yesterday to “block Marine Le Pen’s road to the presidency” as first round results put centrist Emmanuel Macron in the lead.
Former finance minister Mr Macron had won around 24 per cent of the vote to far-right Ms Le Pen’s 21.5 per cent, setting them up for the May 7 run-off.
Paris Grand Mosque rector Dalil Boubakeur urged Muslims to vote “massively” for Mr Macron, warning of the “threat embodied by xenophobic ideas dangerous to our cohesion.”
But three-quarters of voters picked candidates who opposed either the El Khomri antiworker law, membership of the euro currency or EU, sanctions on Russia and the war on Syria.
Mr Macron backed the EUdictated labour law, which was enacted by decree of President Francois Hollande after parliament twice rejected it and sparked a year of general strikes and fierce protests.
Conservative Republicans candidate Francois Fillion and Left Party leader Jean-Luc Melenchon – standing for the Unsubmissive France movement – were close behind on 20 and 19.5 per cent respectively.
Mr Fillon said he would vote for Mr Macron as Ms Le Pen’s programme of leaving the euro currency, a referendum on EU membership and restricting immigration “would bankrupt France” and throw the EU into chaos.
The Socialist Party also called unanimously for a vote for Mr Macron.
Its candidate Benoit Hamon garnered just 6 per cent of the vote after the right wing of his party switched support to Mr Macron.
EU leaders also lined up to back the neoliberal Mr Macron, with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warning that Ms Le Pen “seeks its destruction.”
Leftwinger Mr Melenchon has refused to endorse either candidate.
And on Holocaust Remembrance day, European Jewish congress president Moshe Kantor said the National Front leader was “no less dangerous than her Holocaust-denying father who she has tried to hide” – expelled party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.