France's Macron has call with Obama ahead of election

Then - assuming none of those candidates get over 50% of the vote (they won't) - the top two candidates will go on to face each other in phase two; a run-off set for May 7.

Mélenchon is one of four candidates with a legitimate shot at the presidency.

A French presidential candidate is trying to squeeze in all the rallies he can before the first round of voting begins in a matter of days - and the best way to do that is to be in multiple places at once.

The centrist, Emmanuel Macron, and the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, are seen as frontrunners to progress to the second round.

Leader of the National Front, Ms Le Pen, said she wanted to be president of France, "not the European Commission", according to reports.

Albert the Gators' mascot shields a kid from a foul ball
Albert Gator is enjoying Internet fame, after protecting a young fan from a foul ball and instead taking the brunt of the bounce. The mascot uses his arms and body to protect the boy and the foul ball ends up bouncing off Albert Gator's foam-filled head.

Her rival candidates were happy to let "immigrants turn France into a big squat", she argued. Marine Le Pen could come top or come fourth and crash out - right now it's a battle to survive for the far-right candidate.

Ms Le Pen is expected to do well in the first round running against Independent Emmanuel Macron, Republican François Fillon, Socialist Benoît Hamon and Jean-Luc Mélencho. However, Le Pen has lost some ground as Fillon and Melenchon closed the gap.

Macron is the only candidate so far to have said he has talked with Obama, a popular figure in France.

The Grand Mosque of Lyon issued an appeal urging Muslims to cast ballots instead of isolating themselves, "so that all the children of France, regardless of their skin color, their origins or their religion, are fully involved in the future of their country". She said Wednesday that "I am a candidate in the election for the French republic" and said Europe is acting like France's "enemy".

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