USSEAU, France (AP) -- French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron hunted Saturday for votes in rural France where his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, is making inroads among country folk who feel left behind.
Back in Paris, Le Pen announced that if she wins the presidency in the May 7 runoff she would name former rival Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, her new campaign ally, as her prime minister. The move aims to secure the nearly 1.7 million votes that the anti-European Union conservative got when he was eliminated from the presidential race in the first round of balloting.
Since many Dupont-Aignan voters had already been expected to switch to Le Pen for her second-round duel against the centrist Macron, his decision to ally himself with the far-right Le Pen was unlikely to prove a massive electoral boost for her.
Symbolically, however, the alliance punctured a hole in hopes - expressed by mainstream politicians on both the left and right - that France will unite against Le Pen's extremism in the runoff.
That did happen in 2002, when her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, made the presidential runoff but lost overwhelmingly to Jacques Chirac.