- Title: France's Fillon to hold rally in leftist bastion of Lille
- Date: 18th April 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF POSTER OF FRENCH "FREXIT" PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FRANCOIS ASSELINEAU, WITH SLOGAN READING (French): "A HISTORIC CHOICE"
- Embargoed: 2nd May 2017 17:24
- Keywords: Lille Francois Fillon France presidential election campaign rally
- Location: LILLE, FRANCE
- City: LILLE, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0026CXG66F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: French conservative candidate Francois Fillon was set to hold a rally in the northern city of Lille, a traditionally Socialist bastion, on Tuesday (April 18) ahead of the first round of the presidential election on Sunday (April 23).
Lille's mayor since 2001, Martine Aubry, daughter of former European Commission President Jacques Delors, is a Socialist Party stalwart, serving as its First Secretary for four years.
But the left is losing grasp of the north. France's far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen made it to the second round in the 2015 regional elections, prompting the Socialist Party to withdraw their ticket.
She eventually lost to the conservative candidate as left-leaning voters cast a strategic ballot, but support for her eurosceptic party has been growing in northern towns.
Fillon hopes to lure right-leaning voters to cast their ballots in his favour and not for Le Pen's National Front party.
Polls have consistently suggested centrist Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen will score highest in the first round with about 22-24 percent of the vote each - and thereby qualify for the run-off.
But Fillon and hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon are not far behind, touching 20 percent in some polls, putting both in striking distance of qualifying when taking margins of error into account.
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