Centrist Emmanuel Macron clings on to his status as favourite to win France's presidential election in a four-way race that is too close to call. Pascale Davies reports.
He started the French presidential race as a dark horse outsider. But three months on, Emmanuel Macron is clinging on to a lead in the tensest of races. The latest poll released Wednesday (April 19) shows the centrist candidate is still the favourite to win. But it also predicts that the first round of voting on Sunday (April 23) is too close to call. Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen expected to qualify for the May 7 run-off. Though both candidates' popularity has dipped by around 2 percent. The closely-watched Cevipof poll predicts Macron will win 23 percent of the vote in the first round, with Le Pen trailing on 22.5 percent. Security concerns coming to the fore after two men were arrested in Marseille on Tuesday (April 18), suspected of planning an imminent attack on the presidential campaign. Leftist candidate Jean Luc Melenchon expressing his solidarity with rivals in the face of the threat. He too still in the race, with his rating soaring to 19 percent. That puts him narrowly behind conservative leader Francois Fillon. He's been dogged by a nepotism scandal, but party rivals are getting behind him at the eleventh hour: (SOUNDBITE) (French) FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENT WHO LOST TO FILLON IN BID FOR CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION, NICOLAS SARKOZY, SAYING: "Next Sunday we need to come together to avoid that very common condition of the right: division. Come together with one single objective: what's in the interests of France? And for me it's clear. The interests of France require each of us to vote without hesitation for Francois Fillon." And then there's a fifth contender, of sorts: abstention. A forecast non-voting rate of 28 percent in line with a record posted in the 2002 election. And that could be another boost for Le Pen. Her supporters seen more passionate and thus more likely to get out and vote.