French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron came out against efforts to unilaterally recognize the State of Palestine. Speaking to France's Radio J, Macron broke with the government policy and said unilaterally recognizing Palestine "would not serve anyone" and claimed the move would "create instability."
"The key is recognizing two states in the area, with diplomatic balance work to build peace," Macron said. "If France commits to unilateral recognition of Palestinian we are contributing to an imbalance and will weaken France's ability to play a role in regional stability and in this conflict."
Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen clung on as frontrunners in France's tight presidential race on Tuesday, but the unpredictable outcome is pushing some pollsters to calculate the most extreme runoff scenarios.
In a new twist in the two-round election, Jean-Luc Melenchon, a far-left veteran who for most of the campaign has been dismissed as a distant no-hoper, has surged into the top four and lies just a few percentage points behind the leaders.
Though some commentators see Melenchon's challenge as a blip that may fade, his rise has injected further uncertainty into the outcome of the race for the Elysee, in which Macron has largely been seen as the favorite.
Some investors are even weighing up the possibility of Melenchon making it into the second round against Le Pen, a clash between two far-left and far-right arch-rivals that would stand French politics on its head.
The turbulent presidential campaign has grown increasingly bitter in recent weeks as candidates eye the finishing line.
With the first round of voting due on April 23, when a field of 11 candidates will be whittled down to two, Macron and conservative rival Francois Fillon, who are each fighting for center-right votes, sniped at each other's programs.
Fillon, a former prime minister who has been holding onto the third place in polls despite a scandal over payments of public funds to his family that has hurt his campaign, called Macron a liar.
Macron responded on Sud Radio: "Mr Fillon is a man of little worth."
Polls showed Macron and Le Pen, leader of the anti-immigrant and anti-EU National Front, still several percentage points ahead of Fillon and Melenchon in the first round - something which would send them through to a face-off with each other on May 7.
Pollsters Elabe, in a survey carried out for media groups L'Express and BFMTV, saw them both on 23 percent, half a point down from a similar poll last week. The Elabe poll had Fillon on 19 percent, with Melenchon on 17 percent.
Elabe projected that Macron, a former banker and economy minister in a Socialist government, would go on to beat Le Pen comfortably in the May 7 runoff. Other polls have shown a similar picture.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now