Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says she is temporarily stepping aside from the leadership of her party to ''unite'' the French people. Julian Satterthwaite reports.
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen standing aside, temporarily at least, as the leader of the National Front. Saying during a television interview, the president is the president of all French people and needs to unite them. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, MARINE LE PEN, SAYING: "That's a deeply-held conviction but now we have to act on it and that's why I think it's essential to stand back temporarily from the leadership of the National Front. So this evening I'm no longer the president of the National Front, I am a candidate for the presidency of France." The move appears to be a mere formality. Changing nothing in her campaign platform. Le Pen finished a close second in Sunday's (April 23) first round. Beaten by centrist Emmanuel Macron. Most polls see the far right candidate trailing her inexperienced rival 40 points to 60 in the run-off vote in two weeks time. Her aim now is to widen her support base in order to beat Macron on May 7th. In the same interview, expressing her confidence in doing just that. Saying it's totally doable. Opening the battle for the second-round votes, Le Pen attacked Macron as being 'weak' on the issue of Islamist militancy. And reaffirmed her promise to suspend the EU's open-border agreement and expel foreigners on intelligence service watch lists. Outgoing French president Francois Hollande urging voters to back Macron on Monday (April 24), saying Le Pen represents a 'risk' for France.