Race tightens ahead of French polling day

World | 21 Apr 2017

Hard-left French presidential challenger Jean-Luc Melenchon and conservative Francois Fillon were neck and neck behind the front-runners in an opinion poll yesterday, as candidates made last-ditch appeals to undecided voters.

Voters will cast their ballots on Sunday in the first round of what has transformed into the most unpredictable French election in living memory, with four candidates within reach of the two places in a run-off a fortnight later.

Pollsters forecast the most likely outcome of the first round is that centrist Emmanuel Macron will go head-to- head against far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the May 7 second round. But the race has tightened in recent weeks.

A Harris Interactive poll showed Melenchon was level with one-time favorite Fillon with 19 percent of support. That put the two men only three percentage points behind Le Pen - on 22 percent - and trailing Macron, who consolidated his status as the frontrunner on 25 percent.

Macron would beat Le Pen or any other candidate in the run-off, the Harris poll showed.


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