Belgium had sought suspect in foiled French election attack

The Front National leader's commitment to ending France's membership of the borderless Schengen area, described as "effectively an worldwide passport-free zone for terrorists" by former Interpol chief Robert Noble, sets her on a collision course with the European Commission.

"Proud of our flag, symbol of unity, solidarity and harmony between the peoples of Europe. Let's not hide it". French presidential election candidate for the En Marche! movement Emmanuel Macron reacts during his visit at the KRYS group's headquarters in Bazainville, near Paris Tuesday April 18, 2017.

Macron is now the favourite to become French President and has been edging ahead on the polls to win in the first round of voting.

Le Pen's stance on immigration mainly competes with that of former prime minister Fillon, who despite being plagued by a financial scandal is slowly recovering in the polls, and has also targeted far-right voters. Although Macron and Le Pen are still expected to win the first round vote, a third of the electorate also told the pollsters that they could still change their minds.

Things get better in the second round: Macron extends his lead to no less than 30 points against Le Pen: 65% to 35%.

Abstention, a key factor adding to uncertainty over the outcome of the first round, was seen coming in at 28 percent, Cevipof said. Le Pen mentioned she is the only candidate in the French presidential election who has a clear and unchanging stance in this issue.

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The BVA poll showed abstentions at between 20 and 24 percent. A Frexit would be different because it would mean moving away from the euro to a new currency, most probably back to the French franc.

Fillon, who says he is victim of a "dirty tricks" campaign, said in comments reported by Le Parisien newspaper that he would work to ensure France's institutions better protected the confidentiality of sensitive information.

For large parts of the campaign, sleaze allegations have overshadowed hot button themes like unemployment and how to revive France's sluggish economy.

In the Marseille apartment of the two men arrested yesterday, police found an automatic rifle, two handguns, ammunition and three kilogrammes of explosives, French authorities said.

The election has been one of the most unpredictable in decades and takes place against a backdrop of rising rightwing nationalism, seen most notably in Britain's decision to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's presidential victory in the United States.

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