French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Monday that she was stepping aside from the leadership of her far-right National Front party in a bid to unite the French people as she prepared for the second round of the presidential election.
Marine Le Pen, National Front political party candidate for French 2017 presidential election, visits the meat pavilion at the Rungis worldwide food market, near Paris, France, during her campaign, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
After the first-round vote on Sunday, Le Pen in a statement on Monday condemned French political parties calling to unite against her and to support Macron.
Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen, leader of the National Front, go head-to-head on May 7 after taking the top two places in Sunday's first round.
Mr Macron accused the political establishment of "feeding" the National Front for years and waking up today with a "hangover" with Ms Le Pen advancing to the run-off. The 48-year-old presidential contender succeeded her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011 to head the NF party.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, who repeatedly has been convicted of crimes based on anti-Semitism and racism, founded the far-right National Front party that his daughter Marine now leads.
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Why is a Macron victory so reassuring, even though in common with Le Pen he is an outsider not standing for one of the two main parties? Far-right nationalist and anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen came in second with 21.42 percent, nearly exactly as polls predicted.
A spokesperson for the European Union said Mr Macron represents pro-European values, while Ms Le Pen "seeks its destruction".
The other seven candidates were far behind.
"Some have woken up with a hangover because Le Pen is there".
"They were patting themselves on the back with the whole celeb crew", Ms Le Pen remarked while visiting a wholesale market near Paris on Tuesday. According to a recent poll, their supporters were more likely to fear unemployment and financial insecurity, and were more critical than Macron supporters about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.
However, Ms Le Pen has said any legal processes against her are just a political interference and she has called for the investigations to wait until the election has passed.