French President Francois Hollande has told his ministers to do everything possible to ensure the defeat of right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in the decisive second round of elections on May 7.
The outgoing socialist president appears to be backing centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the race.
“Hollande has asked ministers to fully commit themselves in the election campaign to ensure that Marine Le Pen has the lowest possible result,” French presidential spokesman, Stephane Le Foll, said at the Council of Ministries on Wednesday.
Each minister must be “totally mobilized in this campaign,” Le Foll said, adding that in 2002 Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, also made it into the second round and was defeated.
Hollande and his government are not the only politicians backing Macron. Defeated candidates Francois Fillon of the Republicans and Benoit Hamon of the Socialist party have also urged their supporters to vote for the former economics minister and investment banker. Macron won the first round of the elections held on Sunday with 24.01 percent of the vote, followed by Le Pen with 21.3 percent.
Marine Le Pen accused the French media and elite of handing the presidency to Macron on a platter.
“Macron goes into the second round on a carpet of rose petals with almost total support from the French mainstream media, elites, trade union organizations, entrepreneurs,” she said in an interview on the TV channel France 2.
“But it’s OK, I prefer to be supported by the French people.”
The second round of the French election may come amid more protests as minutes after the polls closed for the first round of the election on Sunday violent protests broke out on the Place de la Bastille in central Paris, where smoke grenades, flares and glass bottles were thrown at police and tear gas deployed on the protesters.
Some demonstrators told RT’s correspondent they were protesting against all 11 candidates, and even brought along a makeshift guillotine to the Opéra Bastille to show their distaste with the establishment.
Another protest, dubbed ‘Neither Le Pen Nor Macron’, is due to take place on the Place de la République on Thursday.