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'I want a France that is part of a strong Europe,' says Emmanuel Macron

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By AFP  with Euronews
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have a fierce political rivalry.
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have a fierce political rivalry.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Thibault Camus   -  

Emmanuel Macron says he is the candidate for a "strong Europe" ahead of a presidential election run-off against Marine Le Pen.

Macron qualified ahead of his far-right rival for the second round of voting, due to take place on April 24.

"I want a France that is part of a strong Europe, that continues to forge alliances with the major democracies to defend itself," he said at his election night headquarters.

"[I do not want] a France that, having left Europe, would have as its only allies the international of populists and xenophobes," he added.

"I want a France that resolutely fights against Islamist separatism but which, through secularism, allows everyone to believe or not to believe, to practice their religion."

The incumbent French President also told supporters on Sunday that he is defending the "only project for purchasing power".

"I will put all my strength to convince everyone that the only project for purchasing power is ours, that the only credible project against the high cost of living is ours, that the only project for workers is ours."

Macron expressed his aim to win over more voters ahead of the second round and "reach out to all those who want to work for France".

"I call on all those who for six years and until this evening have committed themselves to work by my side to transcend their differences to come together in a great political movement of unity and action for our country," he said, amid chants of of "Macron president!"

The LREM candidate also thanked his opponents who "gave him their support", citing Anne Hidalgo, Yannick Jadot, Valérie Pécresse and Fabien Roussel.