Le Pen says France must reinstate border checks to fight 'Islamist terrorism'

Le Pen says France must reinstate border checks to fight 'Islamist terrorism'

The gunman who killed a police officer in Paris on Friday night has been named as 39-year-old Frenchman Karim Cheurfi by Associated Press.

FILE PHOTO: A combination picture shows five candidates for the French 2017 presidential election, from L-R, Francois Fillon, the Republicans political party candidate, Benoit Hamon, French Socialist party candidate, Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader, Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche!

Voters will cast ballots in the first round on Sunday of what has turned into the most unpredictable French election in memory as the gap between four frontrunners narrows.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Emmanuel Macron, a centrist and one of France's two leading candidates, offered a curious response, saying terrorism in the country was an "imponderable" threat that "will be a fact of daily life in the coming years".

Finally, there is far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who is in a tight race with Macron for winning the first round of voting. "We need a presidency which acts and protects us", Le Pen told reporters at her campaign headquarters. Le Pen also claims the rise of Islamic fundamentalism has led to more terror attacks in the country. "She seeks to benefit from fear for exclusively political ends", the Prime Minister said in a televised address.

Second, despite elite enthusiasm for Macron, all the signs are that he will be a timid reformist, repeating enough Europhile pieties to reassure the markets that France isn't about to crash out of the European Union, but unwilling (or unable, given that he lacks a party machine) to push through the serious reform the country needs.

Conservative contender Francois Fillon, who has campaigned against "Islamic totalitarianism", said on France 2 television that he was canceling his planned campaign stops Friday.

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From Friday midnight, candidates and pollsters will go silent for what France's election law calls a "period of reflection" until voting ends at 8 p.m. Sunday. ISIS also claimed credit for the November 2015 attack that saw 130 people shot to death at a concert hall and neighboring venues. Belgian security officials had warned French counterparts before the attack that El Osri was a "very unsafe individual en route to France" aboard the Thalys high-speed train.

Police killed one man whom they said was armed shortly after the shooting, in which two others were severely wounded.

Le Pen's campaign is a bellwether for how strong populist sentiment is within France, but also indicative of how the European far-right's loose fraternity of parties may fare in general.

The results may be so close that campaign officials for Le Pen and Fillon evoked the possibility that it may not be clear which of the two candidates qualifies for the May 7 run-off alongside front-runner Macron when early results come in.

But a political scientist, who predicted Donald Trump's victory, said she doesn't need it.

If Melenchon makes it to the runoff, he is projected to beat both Le Pen and Fillon by comfortable margins although he is seen losing to Macron 41 percent to 59 percent.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also spoke to Hollande. Speaking Friday on RTL radio, Macron said: "What our attackers want is death, symbolism, to sow panic (and) to disturb a democratic process, which is the presidential election".

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