April 28, 2017 / 6:28 PM / 3 years ago

Defeated first-round candidate Dupont-Aignan endorses Le Pen for French president

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan of Debout La France group attends a prime-time televised debate for the candidates at French 2017 presidential election in La Plaine Saint-Denis, near Paris, France, April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Lionel Bonaventure/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - Defeated first-round French presidential candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan endorsed Marine Le Pen and struck a deal on the future government with the far-right leader who, polls show, would lose to the centrist Emmanuel Macron in the May 7 runoff.

Right-winger Dupont-Aignan, who scored 4.7 percent of votes in the first round, said he had signed an agreement on the future government with Marine Le Pen that takes into account some “evolution” of her program.

“I will support Marine Le Pen, I will campaign with her on an enlarged government project,” Dupont-Aignan told France 2 TV channel.

Two polls on Friday showed centrist Emmanuel Macron winning the French presidential runoff with less than 60 percent of votes, as the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen slightly gained ground since the start of the week.

However, Marine Le Pen’s bid to defy the odds and win the French presidency risked a setback on Friday when the man named interim head of her National Front party stood down to defend himself against charges he shares the views of Holocaust deniers.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Emmanuel Jarry; Editing by Ralph Boulton

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