Melanchon draws big crowds in France

Far-left veteran Melenchon draws big crowd as French election enters final straight

By Johanna Decorse and Emmanuel Jarry

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon drew tens of thousands to a rally on Sunday, aiming to maintain momentum that has pushed the one-time outsider into contention in the French presidential election, with the first round of voting a week away.

Opinion polls show the top four candidates – centrist Emmanuel Macron, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, conservative Francois Fillon and Melenchon – within touching distance of each other before the April 23 first round after a surge by Melenchon in the last few weeks.

The polls tip Macron to beat National Front leader Le Pen in a runoff between the two leading candidates on May 7.

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