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French election: Polls suggest Macron nearing victory

It's the end of the final day of campaigning in the French presidential election campaign.

And according to the polls, it's time for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron to start packing his bags for the Elysee Palace in Paris.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports.

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Russia-linked hackers 'targeted Macron campaign'

Emmanuel Macron faces a run-off with Marine Le Pen. Credit: AP

Russia-linked hackers targeted the French presidential campaign of front-runner Emmanuel Macron, according to an anti-virus firm.

Researchers at Japan's Trend Micro said attempts to penetrate the Macron campaign by hackers linked to the Kremlin date back to December.

All attempts at intrusion were thwarted, however.

"It's serious, but nothing was compromised," Macron's digital campaign chief Mounir Mahjoubi said on Monday.

A Trend Micro report claimed that hackers set up a bogus website to harvest the passwords of Macron campaign staffers.

The firm attributed the online spying campaign to a group it calls Pawn Storm, but stopped short of saying who was pulling the strings.

Russian government officials have repeatedly denied claims of state-sanctioned hacking.

Le Pen 'temporarily steps down' as National Front leader

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is temporarily stepping down as head of her National Front party, she has announced.

The move appears to be an attempt to appeal to a wider range of potential voters ahead of the May 7 run-off between herself and Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist who came first in Sunday's first round.

"Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate," Ms Le Pen said.

She has said in the past that she is not a candidate of her party, and made that point when she rolled out her platform in February, saying the measures she was espousing were not her party's, but her own.

She has worked to bring in voters from the left and right for several years, cleaning up her party's racist, anti-Semitic image to do so.

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