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France on edge on eve of presidential poll

France on edge on eve of presidential poll
France goes to polls on Sunday with terrorist violence casting a long shadow over its fraught presidential election, after the shooting of a policeman on the Champs Élysées deepened already bitter political divisions.
According to analysts, Thursday's attack could shake up the four-way contest between far-right leader Marine Le Pen, centrist Emmanuel Macron, conservative Francois Fillon and Communist-backed firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Candidates will be pitted against each other twice -- the first round of the vote takes place on April 23. Then, the two top candidates will face each other in a second run-off on May 7, reported the Guardian.
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the government had reviewed its extensive election security measures and was "fully mobilised" in the wake of the attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
He said more than 50,000 police and gendarmes and 7,000 soldiers would be on duty for Sunday's first-round vote, and nothing could be allowed to "hamper this democratic moment".

Candidates with radically opposing visions for the country's future clashed openly over the response to the killing, claimed by the Islamic State (IS) less than 72 hours before polling stations open.

Macron accused his two closest rivals of using the killing of Xavier Jugelé, 37, and the serious wounding of two other police officers on Thursday night to score political points before Sunday's first-round vote.

Macron said the far-right Front National (NF) leader Le Pen, with whom he is neck-and-neck in polling for the first-round vote, and Fillon -- currently in third place -- were engaging in one-upmanship in their response to the attack. Hardline statements from Le Pen and Fillon spoke of a country "at war" with radical Islam, which they described as organised,
expansionist, totalitarian and barbaric.
Agencies

Agencies

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