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Obama endorses Macron in French election

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAppeals court affirms North Carolina's 20-week abortion ban is unconstitutional GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' Obama: Fox News viewers 'perceive a different reality' than other Americans MORE on Thursday made an endorsement in France's presidential election days ahead of a runoff vote, backing Emmanuel Macron.

“I know that you face many challenges, and I want all of my friends in France to know how much I am rooting for your success,” he said in a video announcing his support. 

“Because of how important this election is, I also want you to know I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward. En March! Vive la France!”

Macron, who leads the socially liberal party En Marche! (In Motion!), backs remaining in the European Union.

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His opponent in Sunday's runoff election is Marine Le Pen, who leads the nationalist and populist National Front party and has frequently been compared with President Trump. Le Pen has suggested she could instigate a referendum on leaving the EU should she win.

Obama said he appreciates Macron’s tone and plans for his nation.

“He appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears,” he said. “And he is committed to a better future for the French people.”

“He has stood up for liberal values. He put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world.”

France’s presidential election is widely regarded as a test of the populist movement that has swept through Western governments since last year.

Trump has declined to comment directly on the French election but has said a terror attack in Paris last month would help Le Pen because “she is the strongest on borders and she is the strongest on what's been going on in France.”