Obama weighs in on French election

FORMER US President Barack Obama has weighed into the French election to back Emmanuel Macron over his National Front rival Marine Le Pen.

The Democrat said he made the unusual move because of the critical nature of the election "to the entire world".

"I'm not planning to get involved in many elections now that I don't have to run to office again," he said.

"But the French election is very important to the future of France and the values that we care so much about."

Mr Macron formed his party, En Marche!, 12 months ago after serving as a finance minister in the socialist government and has gained more than 200,000 members.

In this weekend's election he will come up against Ms Le Pen (pictured), the leader of the right-wing National Front who has pledged to offer a referendum on European Union membership and wants to close the French borders.

Victoria Craw