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French President Hollande urges voters to vote for Emmanuel Macron

IANS | Paris |

French President Francois Hollande urged voters to back his former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, who is running for President as an independent centrist.

"Faced with the risks that a Le Pen victory could bring about, hiding or taking refuge in indifference will not work. We have to mobilize. For my part, I will vote for Emmanual Macron," Hollande said on Monday.

The Socialist President described the FN as a danger to France, due to its history, its methodology and its links to similar far-right groups across Europe, Efe news reported.

Her policies of protectionism, her anti-EU and anti-euro stance coupled with her desire to up import taxes would not only hit the most fragile of the country's citizens, but would also isolate the nation and rupture the bloc, Hollande said.

He said that in moments like now, when France was on terror alert, the nation must embrace solidarity and encourage citizens to come together.

"The far-right would divide France and stigmatize a section of the population based on their origins or religion," Hollande said.

Macron is the "person who defends the values that allow the French to unite faced with such a grave set of circumstances in France, Europe and the world," he said.

Hollande's Socialist Party (PS) came fifth in Sunday's first round of voting for the 2017 presidential elections, while Emmanuel Macron came first and is due to face far-right National Front (FN) candidate Marine Le Pen in the second vote.

Macron began his political career serving, from 2014, as the Finance Minister in the PS cabinet under Hollande until he left in 2016 to found En Marche!.