French presidential candidates plan final rallies

Centrist Emmanuel Macron is set to top first round and is ahead of far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Meanwhile, two Frenchmen were arrested in Marseilles for planning an attack before the election.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for French 2017 presidential election during her campaign rally in Paris, France, April 17, 2017.

Voters in France are preparing for the first round of the country's presidential election on Sunday, April 23. 

The leading candidates are holding their latest big rallies before what is being dubbed one of France's most unpredictable polls.

Campaign managers have been working extra hard to convince swing voters.

French centrist Emmanuel Macron is set to top the first round of voting in France's presidential election ahead of far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Their leads over conservative Francois Fillon and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon have widened, a poll showed on Monday.

Macron's campaign workers say they are very optimistic.

TRT World's Anelise Borges discusses the upcoming rallies. 

Opinion polls have for months shown Le Pen and centrist Macron qualifying on Sunday for the May 7 run-off, but the gap with conservative Fillon and far-leftist Melenchon has been tightening.

"Violent-attack" averted

Two Frenchmen arrested in Marseilles on Tuesday planned to carry out an "imminent and violent attack" ahead of the first round of the presidential election on Sunday, France's Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said.

The pair, who were seized in the southern port city a few moments apart from each other, were radicalised French nationals aged 24 and 30, Fekl said.

These two radicalised men ... intended to commit in the very short-term - by that I mean in the coming days - an attack on French soil - Matthias Fekl

TRT World's Simon McGregor-Wood has more details from Paris.

TRTWorld and agencies