Italian PM, Emmanuel Macron set to join hands for Europe's development

The couple are likely to be the next residents at the Elysee Palace with Mr Macron becoming the youngest leader of France in modern history

The EU legislature lifted Le Pen's immunity in March in relation to a another French investigation over her posting of pictures of Islamic State violence on social media, an offence that in France can carry a penalty of three years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros ($82,000).

The sitting President wasn't even in the race and all the candidates of mainstream parties were routed in the first round of the French presidential election.

Macron is the clear favourite to become France's youngest-ever president after topping Sunday's ballot with 23.75 per cent of votes, slightly ahead of National Front (FN) leader Le Pen on 21.53 per cent. Macron's support was largely in the west of France and in the Paris region.

He said he chose to take a stand "in view of the extraordinary situation we're facing".

Le Pen said Monday she was quitting temporarily as head of her National Front (FN) in order to concentrate on the campaign.

French Jewish leaders have called Le Pen a "candidate of hate" and urged voters to support the leading candidate, centrist Emmanuel Macron, to keep Le Pen from winning.

The factory operated by Whirlpool, a USA multinational company, is threatened with outsourcing to Poland.




"Mr Macron has no project to protect the French people in the face of Islamist dangers", she said, adding that the run-off with Macron was a referendum on "uncontrolled globalization".

Both halal and shechitah require animals be conscious when their throats are slit - a practice that critics say is cruel but which advocates insist is more humane than mechanised methods used in non-kosher abattoirs.

Macron is defending his plans for more retraining of workers struggling with France's chronic unemployment. Ethnic and minority groups have also targeted Ms. Le Pen and the National Front, vilifying them as "racist" and "xenophobic" for their nationalistic stances on issues such as immigration.

President Francois Hollande appeared on Tuesday to admonish his former economy minister for not taking the fight to Le Pen immediately after the first round. "I considered it was such a sign of contempt for the Whirlpool workers that I chose to. come here and see you", she said. Standing amid its workers in yellow hazard vests, she declared herself the candidate of France's workers.

The wily campaign move, which French television news channel BFM broadcast live, had the immediate effect of stealing Mr Macron's thunder.

We, along with the rest of the world, have heaved a sigh of relief after the outcome of the first round of the French presidential election.

Since securing her berth in the run-off, Le Pen has turbo-charged her campaign with a string of appearances and statements, leaving her opponent on the back foot.

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