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France Press review

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French press review 21 April 2017

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France revulsion as terrorists kill policeman in a an attack on the Champs Elysées that looks ntended to influence the 2017 first round  Presidential elections scheduled for Sunday.


The papers all focus onThursday's terrorist attack on the Champs Elysées in Paris, in which a terror suspect shot dead a French policeman and wounded two others, days to Presidential elections scheduled on Sunday.

"Attack on the Champs Elysées" reads Le Parisien, venting anger over the fact that Parisians are again confronted by yet another attack by ISIS terrorists on the French capital less than a year after the November 13, suicide bombings and mass shootings in the city in which 130 people were killed and hundreds wounded.

"Barbarism strikes again right in the heart of the French capital", screams Le Figaro. This is while left-leaning Libération adds its anger over the "Gun battle at the Champs Elysées"  that observers had long feared would happen ahead of Sunday's vote in France.

The regional publications also join the army of commentators  in anger and disbelief. "Champs Elysées in deadly gun battle", is the caption of today's Sud-Ouest, La Voix du Nord and Ouest-France, the three newspapers expres regret that terrorism has raised its head again.

"Distilling fear with the intent of pushing the French to hate each other and vice versa and the objective pursued by the terrorists", according to le Journal de la Haute-Marne.

La dépêche du Midi says the attack on the world famous avenue and a few hours to Sunday's vote has finally brought security to the front of voters' minds.

For la Charente Libre, the death of a policeman in the Champs Elysées shooting suddenly obliges the candidates to confront their campaign rhetoric with the realities of terrorism facing France and her European neighbours.

But for Le Parisien voters should not to allow the terrorists targeting policemen, the military, priests, journalists, cartoonists and even children to influence their vote.

What they need to keep in mind it says is to always remember that the threat is permanent and universal adding that the perpetrators of such acts are nothing but killers.

According to La Croix, the Champs Elysées shooting occurred as the 11 candidates in the French Presidential race made their closing arguments in the last collective appearance on the public television channel France 2.

The Catholic daily says race leader Emmanuel Macron leading the race with 24.5 percent according to the latest Harris Interactive survey, expressed solidarity with the police, security forces and their family of the victim, while reminding citizens that the terrorist threat is set to become part of daily life in upcoming years.

But La Croix notes that National Front leader Marine Le Pen  is losing ground at 21 percent, just ahead of Conservative Francois Fillon at 20 % with "Unbowed" candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon at 19%.

What's most significant according to La Croix, is the moment of decision facing the French people. At the end of the pulsating electoral campaign it says, the choice is either to vote without hesitating or to abstain.

For Sud Ouest, the "zero risk" promised by some candidates if elected President, is far-fetched. It appeals to the French people to close ranks and show proof of national unity at such trying times.

Libération  claims that the top five candidates in the Elysée race, Macron, Le Pen, Fillon, Mélenchon and Hamon face the risk of losing everything and even more, if they fail to qualify for the second round ballot.

According to the left-leaning Libé the three who will end up losing on Sunday, they would not just leave the political families in difficulty but also leave their political parties on the brink of implosion.

From l'Opinion's point of view, that is why, the world, especially France's neighbours will be watching France.

According to Les Echos, after a campaign which has been like none other ever witnessed in the country, there is a strong probability for an unlikely duo to qualify for the second round, which tells volumes about the current mindset in the country – Le Pen-Mélenchon, meaning a break with past and a country folded on itself.

Macron-Fillon, it argues, would mean that France made the turn to market economics. Most significantly, according to the economic newspaper, Le Pen-Macron, would ussher in a big bang, marking the end of the era of the so-called governing parties.

For Le Figaro, the scenario most dreaded by the markets is the "black swan theory"  -- the hypothesis of a win on Sunday by Marine Le Pen or Jean-Luc Mélenchon.