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How the Paris police shooting could shape the French election

21 April 2017

The candidates for France's first-round presidential election Sunday have increased security in recent days.

Macron, who from 2014 to 2016 was economy minister in the Socialist government she has criticised repeatedly for its security record, said the solutions were not as simple as she suggested.

More than 50,000 police and gendarmes are mobilized to protect Sunday's first-round vote in the two-stage election, with an additional 7,000 soldiers also on patrol.

The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday - before the shootout in which the attacker also died and two other police officers were injured.

He vowed that, if elected, he would within weeks of taking power create a task force to coordinate French intelligence efforts against the Islamic State group. The risk for the main candidates was that misjudging the public mood, making an ill-perceived gesture or comment, could damage their chances.

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In the Elabe poll, both conservative Francois Fillon and hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon were seen narrowing Macron and Le Pen's lead over them.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through Amaq, a news agency associated with the terror group. A truck ploughed into people in Nice on Bastille Day a year ago killing more than 80 people while coordinated attacks across Paris including the Bataclan concert hall claimed about 130 lives in November 2015. National police spokesman Jerome Bonet, also speaking on BFM television, said there were thousands of people on Paris' iconic boulevard when the gunman opened fire and that the rapid response of officers who shot and killed him avoided possible "carnage". The gunman was reportedly shot dead by police.

French Interior Ministry spokesperson Pierre-Henry Brandet has said that French authorities were looking for a second suspect in connection with the shooting.

Elena Worms, walking her dog near the Champs-Elysees, called the attack "destabilizing" and said she fears it will "push people to the extremes".

The paper also reported that Macron's chief rival for the presidency, National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, would not campaign Friday out of respect for the victims.

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Investigators searched a home early Friday in an eastern suburb of Paris believed linked to the attack and police detained for questioning three of the gunman's family members - routine in such cases.

Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is appealing to French voters to keep a cool head in the wake of the gun attack of the Champs-Elysees that killed a police officer.

Macron said he canceled campaign stops out of a sense of "decency" and to allow police to concentrate their resources on the attack investigation.

But even leaving out the potential impact on voter sentiment of the latest deadly attack in a series that has hit France in the past two years, neither was totally assured a spot in the May 7 runoff round.

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How the Paris police shooting could shape the French election