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PARIS – The Latest on the French election (all times local):
Former French Manuel Valls says the defeated Socialist Party is self-destructing and has to look forward to rebuild.
Valls spoke Monday to France-Inter radio, a day after French voters rejected mainstream political parties, shutting them out of the French presidency for the first time in the country's modern history. The Socialist candidate drew around 6 percent of the vote, a dismal showing for the party that has held power for the past five years.
Valls said: "We are in a phase of decomposition, demolition, deconstruction."
Far-right populist Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron will face each other in the May 7 runoff. The Socialists, as well as other mainstream parties, have called on French voters to deny Le Pen the presidency and back Macron.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman is welcoming Emmanuel Macron's success in the first round of France's presidential election and wishing him "all the best for the next two weeks."
Pro-European Union centrist Macron will face far-right nationalist contender Marine Le Pen in a May 7 runoff after topping the vote in Sunday's first round.
Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, wrote on Twitter late Sunday night: "Good that Emmanuel Macron was successful with his course for a strong EU + social market economy."
Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, tweeted that "the result for Emmanuel Macron shows: France AND Europe can win together! The center is stronger than the populists think!"
France's far right is reaching out to voters who backed the defeated far-left contender, hoping to peel away voters from the extremes of the political spectrum.
The May 7 runoff will be between the populist Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron, and French politicians on the moderate left and right immediately urged voters to block Le Pen's path to power. The defeated far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon, pointedly refused to do the same.
Le Pen offers an alternative for anyone skeptical of the European Union and France's role in it, said Louis Aliot, the vice president of the National Front party.
He spoke Monday to RTL radio after the earthshaking vote that saw France's mainstream political parties shut out of the presidency for the first time in modern history.