April 23, 2017

Jewish Le Pen Voter Blames Government For Paris Attack

22 April 2017, 01:31 | Austin Hogan

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump waded into France's upcoming elections Thursday, saying he believes an attack on police officers this week will help Marine Le Pen, the far-right presidential candidate.

"Le Pen's momentum is a slow-moving reaction against the men of Davos - as we have seen with Brexit and Trump - but markets don't want to believe it", Charles Gave told Bloomberg News.

Sunday's vote is the first round in the French elections, with the top two candidates advancing to a winner-takes-all runoff on May 7.

In a statement today, Le Pen blamed "radical Islam" - which she called "a monstrous, totalitarian ideology that has declared war on our nation, on reason, on civilisation" - for the attack.

The shooting came just three days before the first round of France's presidential election and there has been much speculation that increased security fears could drive voters either to far-right leader Ms Le Pen or centre-right candidate Francois Fillon.

The National Front leader this evening said the terror threat facing France stemmed from "laxity", and within minutes of the attack tweeted her solidarity with security forces.

Watch the segment above. "It's us or them", he said.

Speaking in Indonesia Friday, US Vice President Mike Pence said the attack was just the latest reminder "that terrorism can strike anywhere at anytime". There have also been attacks on a satirical weekly and a kosher store.

According to Melissa Bell, CNN correspondent (link is external) in Paris, "this changes the last hours of the campaign, puts the fight against terrorism, immigration and national identity in the center".

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"Another terrorist attack in Paris".

"From this weak government of inaction I demand the immediate restoration of our national borders." she wrote, later adding, "I demand the immediate explosion of foreigners flagged for radicalization".

The country is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed more than 230 people.

While neither has explicitly endorsed a candidate nor shown any signs that they will do so before Sunday's election, both presidents have made public moves that appear to indicate where their support lies.

Macron was quick to respond to his rival's comments.

"The main message I have is to wish you all the best in the coming days, and make sure that as you said that you work hard all the way through", said former President Barack Obama on Thursday in a phone call to the progressive French presidential contender.

Le Pen took the second place in the poll with 23 percent, up 1 point.

Fillon, who has slowly clawed back some ground lost after being hit by a fake jobs scandal, saw his score in the first round rise half a percentage point to 20 percent.

Macron was seen defeating Le Pen comfortably in the second round runoff of the election. The right wing candidate is now polling at 19 percent - in joint third place with leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon - according to the FT's aggregated poll tracker.

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