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Prosecutor: Gunman's Note Pledged Allegiance To ISIS; Macron To Voters: Do Not Give In To Fear; Le Pen: Extremist Mosques Must Be Closed; Attack Victim Was 37-Year-Old Xavier Jugele; Candidates Vow Strong Response Following Paris Attack; Fillon: Have To Show Enemies That France Is United; Terror Mars Final Days Of Campaigning; Many Voters Undecided Ahead Of Sunday's Election; Security Forces On High Alert After Paris Attack; Le Pen, Macron Widely See As Frontrunners. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 21, 2017 - 15:00   ET





HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I am Hala Gorani. We are live in Paris, the French capital, just two days away from an

election like no other. And you're looking at a live shot of Paris and this is a special edition of THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

Well, we begin with the very latest on that terrorist attack in Paris and its impact on the French presidential race. The chief prosecutor in this

city says the gunman carried a note, handwritten, pledging allegiance to ISIS.

He had been -- he has a very extensive criminal past. He'd been arrested many times, but never before showed any signs of radicalization. ISIS very

quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which left one police officer dead and three others wounded.

Police shot and killed the gunman. And the presidential candidates as a result agreed to cancel big campaign events ahead of Sunday's vote.

However, we did see them a lot on television. They gave some interviews. They tweeted and those who spoke out had this to say.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, EN MARCHEL (through translator): The choice that you have to make on Sunday must be a choice

for the future. Do not give in to fear. Do not give in to division. Do not give in to intimidation.

MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, NATIONAL FRONT (through translator): Islamist ideology must not have the right to remain in

France. Solipsist organizations like the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood must be banned. I demand that an investigation be opened with

the objective of dissolving associative and cultural organizations that promote (inaudible) fundamentalist ideologies. (Inaudible) must be

expelled. The Islamist mosques must be closed.


GORANI: Well, two very different approaches to how to deal with terrorism, but one thing those candidates have in common, they are talking about it.

The French prosecutor, Francois Molins, had this to say about the terror investigation and the gunman. Listen.


FRANCOIS MOLINS, PARIS PROSECUTOR (through translator): A piece of paper which was discovered next to Karim Cheurfi's body probably fell from his

pocket. It carried a handwritten message defending the cause of Islamic State.

Also several other pieces of paper were found between the two seats of the vehicle which carried the addresses of several police force. Finally, in

the booth of the car, the officers found a large black bag containing a pump action shotgun, rifles, two large kitchen knives, (inaudible), and a



GORANI: Now we talk a lot about the attacker obviously. He is the one who sewed mayhem, who committed such a brutal crime, but there is also

obviously his victim, and we are learning more Xavier Jugele, French police have confirmed that is his name, 37 years old.

This photo of him was released a short time ago by FLAG, an association that represents lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender police officers.

Xavier Jugele, as I mentioned, 37 years old, according to reports one of the first responders at the Bataclan massacre.

Let's bring in CNN's Jim Bittermann for more. You know, yet again France is, you know, reeling and shocked by another attack. I guess, it's

expected but it's always a shock to the citizens.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's always shock and one of the things we are seeing in this one that's a

little bit different and the reaction of the police. This young police officer was very well known and the reaction of the Police Associations

today, for example, one boycott at a meeting with the interior minister.

Because they are so upset with the way this was handled, basically handled, not so much by the Interior Ministry, but by the Justice Ministry. How

this perpetrator, this assailant, was out on the streets even though he had a long, long criminal track record.

[15:05:02]He was in and out of jail since 2003 and I think there's going to be a lot of criticism over that.

GORANI: Let's talk a little bit more about the profile of the suspected attacker. It's sounding more and more familiar. It's sounding more and

more like other attackers and suspects in the past.

He had a very long criminal history, spent years in jail for firing at police officers in an aggravated, sort of armed robbery incident. And he,

in January, was even detained or in February, was even --

BITTERMANN: He was detained and brought in for question. They raided his house. They looked around for things. They knew, for example, that he has

been trying to get weapons, have gotten weapons, but sort of not so violent weapons, as the ones we saw employed here, but knives and things like that,

a GoPro camera and things like that that they knew.

But then they said, well, you know, there is no indication that he's been radicalized and without that indication, they've just let him go about his

way. But they did say that they were going to watch him.

As of March 6th, they said they're going to keep a watch on him because they were (inaudible) might do something. He had threatened to do

something against police and in fact, had acted throughout his criminal career against authorities, police but --

GORANI: And it appears as though police were told he was looking for weapons to commit attack against police.

BITTERMANN: Yes, absolutely. So they knew all those things, but they didn't put it together, and I think that's where there's going to be a lot

of criticism on this and I think we've already seen it. Even few instances today with the politicians who are still campaigning.

GORANI: Our senior international correspondent here in Paris, Jim Bittermann, thanks very much. We'll talk a little bit later about the

potential impact on the raids because although candidates have said they've canceled big campaign events, we saw a lot of them today. Thanks very

much, Jim.

Well, it's been a roller coaster campaign for Francois Fillon, the conservative candidate, was an early frontrunner, but became mired in that

corruption scandal that saw his poll numbers plummet. Despite that he's still hanging in there and could still have a big say come Sunday.

Earlier, he responded to Thursday's shooting in Paris.


FRANCOIS FILLON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): My foreign policy will be above or be targeted at the destruction of Islamic

State because that is what affects us, threatens us directly. It will only be possible on a day when all great powers really act together, United

States, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and across the gulf. The longer they are divided, the longer this will continue. We are at war whether this is in

Paris, Mosul, it is them or us.


GORANI: Well, that was Francois Fillon. We heard first from Emmanuel Macron then Marine Le Pen. Nicholas Vinocur of "Politico" is here with me.

So as I was saying with Jim there, the candidates that out of decency were going to cancel big rallies, but we heard from them all day really. I

mean, they were basically addressing this incident from yesterday during the day. It's the final push.

NICHOLAS VINOCUR, REPORTER, "POLITICO": Absolutely. The campaign has continued and this terror attack has become part of the campaign whether we

like it or not, and in each in their way the candidates have used or moved off this attack to push their agenda forward. In some cases, criticizing

the government for supposed inaction that led to this.

GORANI: All right, and they feel the need to address it obviously because the French people are nervous. I mean, the country has been the target of

terrible attacks and also regularly, which is keeping the tension high.

VINOCUR: Absolutely. We had a period of a down period, but you're right to say that there has been a series of devastating bloody attacks in the

past two years and if anything, the tension had gone down and this has brought it back up to the level that it was earlier this year and reminded

everybody of the threat and it's completely -- it's made security the main focus here.

GORANI: So who is it, I guess, politically to benefit?

VINOCUR: Well, you would think that it would benefit that candidate with the strongest positions on security. Marine Le Pen definitely has the most

radical proposals for addressing terrorism. But I would argue that voters turn to figures of authority and figures -- and in times of crisis like

this. And the person with the most authority, the most executive experience in this race is Francois Fillon, the conservative candidate.

GORANI: So he's the right of center conservative candidate, perhaps one that could benefit politically. However, when you look at the polls,

what's interesting is this is really a race. There is no leader. Everybody is within the margin of error among the top four, even you could

argue among the top five if you count (inaudible).

VINOCUR: Exactly. It's a completely unpredictable race with so much at stake. As you said, four candidates with radically different views of what

should happen in France so close together. It will be a big sigh of relief on Monday morning when we get the results.

GORANI: And the big -- well, it depends who you are, I guess, here in Brussels and you're a European Union official and the candidate, Marine Le

Pen makes it into the second round, you might start getting nervous.

[15:10:09]VINOCUR: Absolutely. Like you said, it could be a crisis starting on Monday morning with two Euro skeptic candidates in the final

round then the market reaction and the tension will be starting on Monday morning.

GORANI: This is really the most important political event in Europe this year.

VINOCUR: You could say it's the most important event in Europe. You could say it's the important political event in the world in a way. It will

define France's attitude towards the European Union, the future of this whole currency block, and in many ways what happens to what we used to call

the west.

GORANI: Yes, western democracies, big international organizations, the European Union, NATO, all sorts of things with Trump in the White House,

this could be a real big change of how western democracies operate.

VINOCUR: It could be another political earthquake, absolutely, yes.

GORANI: Nicholas Vinocur, a reporter with "Politico" joining me here in Paris, thanks so much for being with us on CNN. A lot more to come this

evening. It's a special program coming to you from the French capital. The world is watching as voters here get ready to weigh in on this critical

election that is far too close to call as we've saying. Much more of our special coverage coming up.


GORANI: Security forces here in Paris are on high alert after last night's terrorist attack here on the Champs-Elysees, but the city's deputy mayor

says people shouldn't walk around in fear. I spoke to Patrick Klugman earlier.


PATRICK KLUGMAN, DEPUTY MAYOR OF PARIS: Paris is safe and of course, we (inaudible) casualty last night with the death of police officer, but they

have been many, many avoided attacks last week even the best week, two terrorists were arrested before committing any attack. There were many

others. Paris is a safe city.


GORANI: All right, Patrick Klugman, by the way, was telling me as well that voting stations would be getting more police presence. Adam Nossiter,

Paris correspondent for the "New York Times" is here.

You were telling me in the break that you thought the most interesting phenomenon is that two candidates on the extreme have a good chance of

making it to the runoff.

ADAM NOSSITER, PARIS CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, I think that is extraordinary and absolutely unprecedented. You have on the far right,

Marine Le Pen, and on the far left, Jean Luc Melenchon, and in many ways they're quite similar, and they represent movements that have after all

been around for a very long time in France but always on the fringes.

Now you have the distinct possibility that they could wind up as finalist on May 7th, and I think that is really -- in the west that's really rather


[15:15:10]GORANI: And to tell our viewers, Melenchon and La Pen, both Euro skeptics. Melenchon even skeptical of being a member of NATO. I mean,

these are sort of declared anti-establishment voices, anti-globalization, and anti-international organization voices as well. Why are they popular

in France of all countries?

NOSSITER: Well, their underlying theme is similar, restore France's sovereignty. This is what they constantly harp on, both of them. Marine

Le Pen from the far right and Jean Luc Melenchon on the far left, they are promising their voters that they will give France's destiny back to France.

They've been criticized, of course, for making it a looser promise, but they are offering extreme solutions to people who feel desperate. In

Marine Le Pen's case, people are extremely agitated about immigrants.

And in Jean Luc Melenchon's case, there are a lot of people who were struggling at or below the poverty line, who hear him say he's going to

spend a lot of money on them, and they like that.

GORANI: And that's a familiar story, we've heard in other sort of big electoral contest whether it's Brexit or the U.S. election. In fact,

speaking of Donald Trump, he tweeted directly referencing the French election. He tweeted yesterday, "Another terrorist attack in Paris, the

people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election." A lot of his critics said, are you endorsing

Marine Le Pen here?

NOSSITER: Yes, well, that again was a rather extraordinary intervention by President Trump into domestic politics of another country. I don't know of

any president for that and it could indeed be seen as an endorsement for Marine Le Pen, who has herself expressed very warm feelings Mr. Trump.

GORANI: Right, certainly. In fact, I think he repeated a similar message to the "Associated Press" in an interview a few hours after tweeting that.

So I spoke to -- speaking of Marine Le Pen, the National Front secretary general. He predicted -- can you guess what he predicted in the runoff?

Who -- which two candidates would end up in the runoff?

NOSSITER: Well, Marine Le Pen and her people have made no secret of the fact that they hope their opponent is Emmanuel Macron, the former economy

minister because they say with some gustiness that he represents the exact opposite of Marine Le Pen. He's pro-E.U. He's pro-international

organizations. He's not --

GORANI: That's all very true, yes.

NOSSITER: Yes, that's all very true.

GORANI: They consider that an insult. He is proud of the fact and openly hands out an E.U. flag at his rallies and Marine Le Pen wouldn't do an

interview when an E.U. flag was in the frame behind her.

NOSSITER: Right. And Marine Le Pen likes Jean Luc Melenchon, has kind of anti-capitalist edge to her rhetoric, and of course, Mr. Macron being a

former investment banker represents a perfect target. And in fact at her rallies, she frequently mocks the former Rothschild banker, as he

invariably refers to him.

GORANI: Well, indeed, you are correct. The secretary general predicted a Macron-Le Pen round and even though the polls are obviously too close to

call because all four main candidates are within the margin error consistently Le Pen and Macron are sort of in the top two and Melenchon and

Fillon are the bottom two.

NOSSITER: I think the likeliest outcome on Monday is that we'll see Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron.

GORANI: Last question, is France -- if Marine Le Pen is in the second round, whoever her opponent is, is France ready to elect Marine Le Pen as

their next president?

NOSSITER: No, I don't think --

GORANI: Collectively?

NOSSITER: I don't think so, but I don't think it can be ruled out at the same time. I think if one talks to voters, one encounters a great deal of

skepticism about the ability -- her ability and the ability of her party to govern. But that said, it would be foolish to make a blanket prediction.

GORANI: Well, after 2016, we should stop making predictions.


GORANI: We should impose a moratorium on predictions for several years. Thank you, Adam Nossiter of the "New York Times." A pleasure having on the


NOSSITER: My pleasure.

GORANI: Well, I had a chance earlier to speak with a ranking member of Marine Le Pen's campaign, Nicolas Bay, I was just discussing that with

Adam. He's the secretary general of the National Front.

So after this attack on the Champs-Elysees, I obviously begun by asking him what is the National Front's strategy to dealing with the terrorist threat.

Marine Le Pen has made a big deal of this.

This is a centerpiece of some of her proposal. But the latest call is to close what she calls Islamist mosques. Here's what Nicolas Bay had to say

about that. Listen.


NICOLAS BAY, GENERAL SECRETARY, THE NATIONAL FRONT (through translator): It is necessary to eradicate Islamism in France, which nowadays swells

everywhere with the benevolence are the complicity of the public authorities and the financing of those mosques is a real problem.

[15:20:10]GORANI: In which countries?

BAY: There are local authorities that finance mosques in France indirectly and there are also foreign powers, for example, Saudi Arabia and Qatar,

which financed the construction of mosques which, of course, are under their tutelage, I mean, the tutelage of radical Islamist groups.


GORANI: So the fact that he's specifically mentioning Saudi Arabia and Qatar, obviously these are countries that are -- that buy weapons and arms

from western democracies and this, of course, expanded into Le Pen if she's elected into her international policy. What would she do with Saudi Arabia

and Qatar if she's elected president? Here's what he had to say.


BAY (through translator): I think we need to be consistent in international politics and not sell weapons to those countries. It is not

because we see a certain number of positive element in Donald Trump's promises in economic immigration that we necessarily agree with everything

he does.


GORANI: So there you heard it, stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This is according to the number three at the National Front.

Obviously, the Le Pen campaign is conscious of the comparison the U.S. president. Donald Trump has already proven himself at the polls, though,

and Marine Le Pen will try to do that Sunday.

Now as we were discussing with our previous guests, take a listen to who Bay expects to get through to the second round with his candidate.


BAY (through translator): It is hard to say. French people will decide. Marine Le Pen is leading most of the polling. She has the highest rate of

voting certainty, which is an important fact especially when you're only 72 hours away from the ballots. I think she will probably face Emmanuel

Macron, who is emblematic and even a caricature of the system of both the right and left.


GORANI: All right, this is what the Front National has been saying attacking Emmanuel Macron for being a caricature according to the National

Front. Obviously, though, Emmanuel Macron has his supporters and it's an incredibly close race.

The attack here in Paris yesterday has resonated all around the world. Even to the American capital, that's where CNN's Paula Newton caught up

with the French finance minister during IMF meetings in Washington.


MICHEL SAPIN, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER (through translator): The terrorist attacks against France, other countries are also affected, but these terror

attacks against France are not against the society or an economy. They are commanded from abroad.

They are against a country that fights with freedom, a country that carries out offensives with allies in Syria, Iraq, Northern Africa, Mali, and

(inaudible) to fight terrorists.

We can see that the more the terrorists are weakened on an international level, the more they try to use terrorism on a territory to trouble the


I think the French have shown this several times and continue to show this this time. That they are not shaken by this. They are touched and moved,

but it's not shaking their determination in the fight against terrorism.


GORANI: So it's in two days, it's the big day, that's when France goes to the polls in one of the most bitter, divisive and intriguing presidential

elections in history. But obviously there is this specter of terrorism looming large over the vote after the attack on Champs-Elysees behind me

left a police officer dead. Melissa Bell has that story.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The time 9 p.m. and the timing three days before the presidential election on the Champs-

Elysees, the attacker identified as Karim Chiurfi (ph) has just been killed after shooting into police van with an automatic weapon.

One police officer is dead, two others and a tourist are wounded. Within three hours, the Islamic State had claimed responsibility. The following

morning, raids were carried out in a number of locations. Three members of Chiurfi's family were taken into custody.

As the investigation gathered phase, the government discussed security ahead of Sunday's vote and the likely political fallout. With less than 48

hours to go until polls open, France's prime minister expressed his fear that one candidate might try to add fuel to the fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The candidate of the Front National like every drama seeks to profit from and to control the situation

to divide. She seeks to benefit from fear for exclusively political ends.

BELL: Marine Le Pen has put the fight against Islamist violence at the heart of her campaign, controversially, she wants all terror suspects

thrown out of France and the country's borders closed. Within 12 hours of the attack, she went on the offensive.

[15:25:02]LE PEN (through translator): I demand that an investigation be TST opened with the objective of dissolving associative and cultural

organizations that promote (inaudible) fundamentalist ideologies. The (inaudible) preachers must expelled. The Islamist mosques must be closed.

BELL: Le Pen repeated her intention of having all terror suspects, some ten and a half thousand people expelled if elected president. Shortly

afterwards her main rival, the independent centrist, Emmanuel Macron took to the airwaves with his reply.

MACRON (through translator): Do not give in to fear. Do not give in to division. Do not give in to intimidation.

BELL: With the campaign ending at midnight tonight, the only measure of the choice the French have made will be the poll itself. A poll is hard to

call as it is likely to prove decisive. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


GORANI: Well, we'll take an in-depth look at the investigation in just a moment. CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank will join me. Our

coverage will continue next.


GORANI: All right, a look at some other stories, in Venezuela, local official says a man was shot and killed during anti-government protest on

Thursday on the outskirts of Caracas. CNN is unable to confirm the account. At least three other people have been killed this week alone as

protests against the Madura government have turned violent in some places.

Also among the stories we are following, a U.S. defense official says Russian military aircraft have been spotted off the coast of Alaska. This

is for the fourth time as in many days. The two most recent events happened on Wednesday and Thursday. However, it's important to note this,

obviously, the aircraft did not enter U.S. airspace, but U.S. and Canadian jets were sent to intercept the Russian aircraft during an encounter


And you'll remember that story on the bus attack of the German -- the German football team, well, German police have now arrested a man in

connection with that attack on the football team bus. This was not an Islamist attack. Prosecutors say the suspect's motive had nothing to do

with terrorism. CNN's Erin McLaughlin has that story.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the wake of the attack targeting Germany's Dortmund Football Club, authorities initially suspected

terror. Now they alleged the motive was money. Friday morning, German prosecutors announced a key arrest, a 28-year-old German-Russian national

identified only as Sergei W. Authorities say he bought thousands of put options on shares of Dortmund stock, basically betting that it would crash.

He would have made a profit from the fall of the stock.

FRAUKE KOEHLER, SPOKESPERSON, FEDERAL PUBLIC PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, GERMANY (through translator): The profit the accused would have made would have

been higher the more the Borussia Dortmund shares were falling. Currently, we cannot say exactly what maximum profit he would have made.

MCLAUGHLIN: Authorities say they tracked the I.P. address for the purchased stock options to the suspect's hotel, the same hotel as the

Dortmund team. The suspect's room at the top floor overlooked the scene of the attack.

On news of the arrest, relief and gratitude. The club released a statement saying, quote, "Borussia Dortmund would like to thank all the countless

people who have supported us in the past 10 days through words and deeds. The overwhelming popularity has given us a lot of strength."

On April 11th, three bombs filled with metal pins detonated from behind a hedge near the Dortmund bus. The team was en route to play A.S. Monaco.

Two people were injured in the attack, including Spanish defender, Marc Bartra. Authorities initially said due to the type of explosives and

detonator used, they believed this was an act of terror.


MCLAUGHLIN: The bombing had the entire country on edge, especially after the Berlin Christmas market attack which had links to ISIS. So many here

were surprised to learn that authorities believe this had nothing to do with terrorism at all, but rather was the work of a cold, calculating man

looking to profit from other people's pain.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Berlin.

HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let us return now to our top story. France confronts another terrorist attack. This one days before that big

pivotal election, which we'll be covering, obviously, on Sunday. Our terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank, joins me now live from New York.

So, Paul, as we've been discussing and as we've been covering this hour, this profile of this suspect sounds awfully familiar.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Very familiar. Somebody that was a radical before they were Islamized, somebody who had a pattern of

behavior linked to violent crime, who was in and out of jail many times in France over the last decade, somebody who has already shot and wounded

police officers in his past.

And the trajectory is of somebody who relatively recently became radicalized and moved forward with an attack. He wanted ISIS to take

ownership of it, it would appear, judging by the fact that he had this note in his pocket defending the ISIS cause, which fell out of his pocket during

the attack and which was then retrieved by French investigators.

But, Hala, I'm told by a source close to the investigation that the French security services actually previously knew that he was trying to establish

communication with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. And in fact, indications claiming in March, last month, that he was increasingly trying to get in

touch with an ISIS figure in Syria and Iraq.

And within that context, on March 9th, the Paris Prosecutor's Office, their counter terrorism division, took over the investigation into him because of

all this information that was coming in. And you'll recall that previously, there were other investigations into this individual because

information had come suggesting that he wanted to kill police officers, wanted to get weapons to do that.

But in late February, they did not have those indications that he had links to violent Islamist extremism. Well, recently, that changed. A lot of

questions tonight, Hala, about why more wasn't done in this case. But the reality is they got to monitor and look at all sorts of people in France,

15,000 believed to be radicalized they're concerned about.

GORANI: Right. But, I mean, there were really some elements here that should have raised massive red flags. I mean, here's somebody who, already

in February, had been questioned. His apartment had been searched. Then in March, this new information that he was trying to contact someone from

ISIS in Syria or Iraq.

And I guess there's some frustration I'm hearing, especially among police today. Why was he not under surveillance? He was able to acquire an

automatic weapon in order to commit this attack.

[15:34:59] I mean, obviously, you don't just walk into a store and buy an automatic weapon in a country like France, so, I mean, that means he was

really kind of on the loose, able to organize himself to commit this crime.

CRUICKSHANK: There are huge questions tonight about why more priority wasn't being put into investigating and to monitoring in the past weeks,

especially after this information came in about these increasing attempts to get into contact with an ISIS figure in Syria and Iraq.

And, of course, very soon after the attack, ISIS threw out that claim of responsibility, a claim of responsibility it put out in several different

languages, identified the attacker by a certain fighting name. And that may suggest that actually he did succeed in establishing contact with ISIS.

We'll have to see all the investigation conclude things on that question, but certainly a lot of questions tonight for the French counter terrorism


But I've got to say, at the same time, their challenge is just huge, and they have to prioritize. They can't follow all of the people that are

showing concern because they're just too many of them. That's the reality Europe faces right now, so that really needs to be recognized when trying

to sort of point the finger of blame for any of this.

GORANI: All right. Paul Cruickshank, thanks very much, joining us from New York.

Well, we discussed Marine Le Pen. We discussed Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron. One of the more surprising elements in this election is

another candidate, the sudden surge of support for the far left candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon.

The left wing candidate has benefited from impressive displays in television debates. Also, his popularity with younger voters. He spoke

earlier following Thursday's Paris shooting. Listen.


JEAN-LUC MELENCHON, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): Our first task is to remain cool headed and to not give in to Panic and not

get carried away by emotions. To not subject ourselves to hate, vengeance, and resentment, and to avoid aggressive rhetoric.

The republican values dictate that we finish this electoral campaign with dignity, that we don't cancel any rallies and meetings. Democracy is

stronger than everything. And at the end, it will prevail. You know it as well as I do.


GORANI: Well, let's get more Jean-Luc Melenchon. One of his advisers is joining me from Paris via Skype.

Sophie Rauszer, thanks for being with us.


GORANI: Do you think your candidate will make it to the runoff?

RAUSZER: Yes, we are pretty sure of this now. We have been doing a very happy campaign. And, of course, I mean, this terrible attack yesterday --

this morning, sorry, is, of course, something that we have to take into consideration.

But we also know that the people of Paris, the Parisians, want to defend their way of living, so we say, keep your mind cool and keep on living

because this is intact to our values, to our republican values, and to our way of life.

GORANI: So your candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon -- and I can tell you, in the United States, this has raised some eyebrows. I mean, his economic

plan is quite extreme, income tax proposals of 100 percent of income over 28,000 British pounds, for instance. Those types of things, guaranteeing a

certain level of minimum wage, would sound like quite populist proposals to ensure French people get back into the work force.

Let me ask you about the income tax proposal. Is that even feasible?

RAUSZER: Of course, it is feasible and it is more than feasible because, I mean, the actual income tax that we are proposing, a lot of people would

benefit from it, and would impose to a higher extent only the very, very higher part of the population. But what is also important is, like, in

this campaign, we are giving the voice to 99 percent of our population. In that sense, we are pretty similar to what he's been doing, someone like

Bernie Sanders in the U.S.

And maybe, if you had the change to have Jean-Luc Melenchon in the United States, that would be ranking, you know, third or fourth like we are now

currently, or even possibly in the second turn, you wouldn't have Trump today.

GORANI: So you see Jean-Luc Melenchon as sort of the French Bernie Sanders?

RAUSZER: In some way, yes, in this will to make people contribute to the campaign, contribute to the program. I mean, what we are saying in the

program, all these measures we are proposing have been worked on since more than a year now, and we have a lot of citizen mobilization and


[15:40:11] And this is a massive change because, as you know in France, I mean, the tension was very, very high. And people were disgusted by the

politicians, but not disgusted by politics. You know, there is this interest deeply rooted in the French mind, this interest to the

participation of your policy.

GORANI: All right. Sophie Rauszer, advisor to Jean-Luc Melenchon, thanks so much for joining us on CNN.

We'll have a lot more after the break. There's 11 candidates on the ballot and many in France are struggling to find just one worth voting for. We're

asking voters why that is, why so many plan on not voting at all. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Well, this months-long campaign for France's next president has been full of controversy. We've seen everything from the rise of political

outsiders to racist rhetoric to an embarrassing embezzlement scandal. And still, much of the electorate remain undecided, just two days before the

big vote.

Now, what are voters saying? Well, let's ask them directly. CNN's Melissa Bell is stationed in a bar in the (inaudible) mall on a Friday night, so

hopefully, you know, people will be frank in their views.

Melissa, what are voters telling you?

BELL: Well, this is what we wanted to find out, Hala. We are now 24 hours after this attack. What impact has it had on the vote? Because, of

course, given that at midnight tonight, Paris time, the campaign closes officially. There will be no opportunity to test popular opinion, no

opinion polls at all.

The only poll will be the one on Sunday, and we won't find out until 8:00 p.m. Sunday night. So we thought we'd come to this bar, and we're a

stone's throw from where this attack happened 24 hours ago to find out what voters think, whether they think it might have an impact. And these guys

have very kindly agreed to speak to us.

Tell us, first of all, Natalie, what you think. Do you think this might sway the vote? Will this change how people are intending to vote when they

go on to the polls on Sunday?

NATALIE (PH), PARIS VOTER: Yes, I'm afraid so. I'm afraid it's a very bad thing for the city, like just it was made like a plan to, you know,

reinforce some of the candidates that we personally don't like here, that are very, you know, popularist and exclusive of many people here in France.

[15:44:58] This is, I think, what we don't need. We don't need to exclude people. We need to embrace people and to embrace what's going on in


BELL: You're referring to Marine Le Pen, the far right candidate, presumably.

NATALIE (PH): Yes, to Marine Le Pen and to also some other extreme candidates that are against police, against weapons, et cetera. We are

against weapon as, you know, personal use, but we think that police should use weapon and should be able to protect people and protect themselves as


BELL: Now, Jean-Marc (ph), we've seen Marine Le Pen today try to capitalize on what went on over here 24 hours ago, just a road away from

here. Do you think it can boost her chances?

JEAN-MARC (PH), PARIS VOTER: Yes, unfortunately, I think it was very much expected from her to do this kind of thing. And that's a typical populist

reaction. And, yes, we're kind of afraid of the kind of impact it can have votation on Sunday.

BELL: I think the danger is that people will vote almost on an emotional level. Do you think that could happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, definitely yes. But I hope that some people like us won't do that, and remind -- stay on their vote, excepting Marine

Le Pen.

BELL: Now, we've seen this extraordinary campaign has gone on for months of course. The whole world's watching to see how France votes. Do you

think that we're faced with a crucial election? Do you think that this campaign has been as interesting as the rest of the world has found it?

NATALIE (PH): Well, interesting, yes, is least of a word. I think it's been, like, extremes happening everywhere. And not only in France, not

only what's happened in Turkey, what happened in Syria, of course, what could have happened is some other countries like Austria and what's

happening in the U.K. with the Brexit. So we're a bit puzzled, and I don't think we know where we're going.

And we sometimes think we're a bit far away from the U.S. but, personally, I'm coming from Canada. I've been working in Canada for years, and, of

course, what's happening in the U.S. is also very close to us in the end. So, yes, it's a bit of over reshuffle, and it's very difficult to

understand what's going to happen.

BELL: Which explains the large amount of undecided voters. Have you guys all made your mind about how you're going to vote?


BELL: So you know already?

JEAN-MARC (PH): Yes, I know.


JEAN-MARC (PH): And I'm going to go for the most moderate thing because I'm afraid. As Natalie (ph) say, I'm kind of afraid of all the radical

kind of positions, and we want to have -- well, I would speak for myself, but I'd like to have someone who can just put a little bit of peace in this

country now.

BELL: Who do you believe that is, if it's not indiscrete?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I'm not decided yet, but I hope it won't be the extremist, as said Natalie. But I will vote again.

BELL: Many French people are waiting to see who the best alternative will be. It is a strategic vote. Is that what you're waiting to decide?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I will do that, yes.

BELL: You'll wait until when to make your mind?


BELL: OK. That's interesting. So voters there, as you see. It is here in France, that first round of voting, can prove to be extremely strategic.

It's all about tactical voting. So people will decide not only who they want to see arrive to power, but also who they don't want to see make it to

the Elysee Palace.

And what you'll see many French people deciding to do, as we've just heard, is really waiting for the last minute to decide who they feel that the most

credible alternative is, who looks like the person best positioned to beat the candidate that they're most worried about.

So huge amounts of undecided voters, record high numbers of undecided voters, but they're hope is that the French will go to the polls en masse

to express themselves in favor of one candidate or another.

But, of course, we will not know, Hala, until about 8:00 p.m. local time on Sunday whether France has chosen the alternative or whether indeed it has

given in to the populism that we've heard expressed itself so forcefully today.

GORANI: Yes. And it will be the big reveal at 8:00 p.m. local. We'll see the faces of the two finalists. I'm curious, if you could ask the lady who

told you she's undecided, why is she still undecided? We're a day and a half away.

BELL: That is an excellent question.

We have a follow up. We are a day and a half away. We've seen this campaign spoken about in France for months. With very different programs,

radically different. I understand the tactical nature of the voting, the importance of that, but were you not drawn to one program or another? Was

there nothing that inspired you in any of the narrative?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there are some things interesting in some of the programs, but there is not one person who combined everything that I

would like to follow actually. So there is not a good choice. There is really bad choice, and for the moment, I don't know yet which one I would

prefer to have as the president.

JEAN-MARC (PH): The general is that a lot of people are actually voting by default, rather than really putting a choice on someone.

BELL: And perhaps that's a reflection, Hala, of the way the campaign has been. Perhaps not enough has been spoken in positive terms. It's been a

lot of negative campaign, and that's something we've been talking about for many weeks, Hala.

[15:50:09] GORANI: And there's so, so, so much at stake. Thanks very much. Melissa Bell there, quintessentially Parisian scene on the terrace

of a cafe.

Don't forget you can check out our Facebook page,, for more of our show content that we will post


We'll take a quick break. When we come back, a lot more of our coverage. With only two days until the big vote, we will have a lot more. Stay with



GORANI: Well, when a race is so close, candidates try to think of any possible way they can to get an edge, especially with young voters. What

does that mean? Using social media. Take a look.




BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- work hard all the way through because you never know, it might be that last day of

campaigning that --


OBAMA: -- makes all the difference.


GORANI: Well, they're doing, obviously, young voters, Snapchat, the rest of it. We're having fun with it, aren't we?


GORANI: Yes. So Barack Obama was giving a piece of advice to Emmanuel Macron, saying it might be the last day of campaigning that does it for



GORANI: To the wires.

BITTERMAN: Yes, yes. And it also could be that the last day of campaigning could do him in because one of the things that occurred after

the attack last night is a lot of people started criticizing Macron as someone that's too young, too inexperienced to handle these kinds of

things. So it might actually hurt him in the voters' eyes --


GORANI: He's only 39 years old.

BITTERMAN: Yes, exactly.

GORANI: By the way, Teddy Roosevelt was 39 years when he became president.



GORANI: But it was another era, to be fair. But he did address supporters and French citizens in a sort of, quote/unquote, "presidential way" today,

Emmanuel Macron.

BITTERMAN: Absolutely.

GORANI: And I wonder if that helped or hurt him?

BITTERMAN: I think it actually helped --

GORANI: Did it highlight his weakness?

BITTERMAN: And he also met with police today.


BITTERMAN: So that was something, I'm sure, that bolstered his standing. I was just sitting, watching, you know, and thinking about previous

campaigns. About five years, you know, we were standing probably just about where we are now.

GORANI: Yes. Yes.

BITTERMAN: And the candidates were Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande. And Sarkozy represented one view of France, was pushing for reforms and

that sort of thing, and much criticized for his five years of presidency. Hollande was giving the French something they wanted, which they called him

"Flanby." You remember that?


BITTERMAN: Because he was like a pudding, the Flanby pudding. And he was kind of warm and cuddly. And, you know, you look and say, what would have

happened if it had been another five years of Sarkozy as opposed to Hollande?

[15:55:02] Would it have changed things over the last five years? Would the terrorism problem have been handled in the same way as Hollande handled

it? I think the Hollande presidency is going to go down as one of the weakest in French history.

GORANI: Yes. I mean, his popularity rating is so low that he's not even running again.


GORANI: And he knows that it's just desperate thought.

BITTERMAN: But those young people were talking and the young man said, you know, we want to go back, we want to just have a normal life. That was the

same feeling five years ago, that the French really wanted normalcy and Sarkozy wasn't providing it. He was advocating too much. They wanted

something sort of warm and nice to grab onto. I'm not so sure these days that's, you know, possible.

GORANI: But then on the other hand, you have so many people who say, we just want change. I mean, in other words, we want change and we heard it

with Brexit. We heard it with the Trump supporters and voters. Eventually that led to his win in November.

Is it going to be a similar phenomenon here? Because this is, obviously, the Champs-Elysees. It's the heart of Paris. This isn't France. In

France, we're hearing a different message from some of the parts of France.

BITTERMAN: Absolutely. And I've been out to the rural areas, and you certainly hear that different message out there. Also, another thing I

think that's kind of similar to the U.S. is this whole thing, and the young people pointed that out too, is that this is a negative vote. There's so

many people that are voting against someone.

And even after the attack last night, you can find so many reasons not to vote for somebody. You know, you could find so many reasons not to vote

for Macron. He's too young. Melenchon, he's too weak on the security issue. Le Pen's too extreme.


BITTERMAN: And so, I mean, in the decision-making process about who you're going to vote for, I think people are thinking negatively rather than


GORANI: Yes. All right. The best bad case scenario or worst-case scenario, whatever. Thank you very much, Jim Bitterman.

And I want to tell our viewers, obviously, that on Sunday, you will be reporting from the Le Pen headquarters.


GORANI: Our Melissa Bell will be at another headquarter. And we'll have, obviously, teams spanned out across all the main candidates' headquarters

as well. And our show will start at 7:45 p.m. local time. That's 15 minutes before the big announcement on who -- 7:50, am I told, Stephanie?

Indeed, 7:50! I apologize. I was five minutes off, there you go. We'll have 10 minutes of free game, the big reveal, and then obviously full

coverage after that until 9:00 p.m. local. And we'll also be live on Monday.

I'm Hala Gorani. This has been a special edition of THE WORLD RIGHT NOW live from Paris. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.