Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has warned that France's "survival is at stake" in a speech made shortly after securing the second-highest number of votes in the first round of the country's presidential election on Sunday.
France could not hope for change to come with the "heir" of current French president, Francois Hollande, said the National Front candidate whose vote count came within 2 percent of the leading candidate, the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, according to exit polls released Sunday evening.
Le Pen called on "all patriots" to support her in the final round of the election, scheduled for Sunday May 7, in the speech made to her supporters gathered at Henin-Beaumont, where she had watched the initial poll results come in.
The daughter of former National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, also declared this is the time to "free the French people from an arrogant elite".
Later in the evening, Macron addressed his supporters from his campaign's headquarters in Paris, saying together they had changed the face of French politics in only a year.
He finished his speech by reaching out to all French citizens in a bid to secure their votes, saying that he hoped to be elected as their president in two weeks' time and would seek to build a parliamentary majority as soon as Monday. He added that he wants to become the voice of hope for both France and Europe.
The 39-year-old former Economy minister also thanked the losing Socialist Party candidate Benoit Hamon and the losing Republican candidate Francois Fillon for their pledge to vote for him in the second round.