President Francois Hollande has urged the French to choose centrist Emmanuel Macron over far-right opponent Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election, telling voters it was their duty to Europe as well as France.

Hollande had previously said he would vote for his former economy minister but had not given voting instructions.

Polls show Macron winning on May 7 with about 59-60 per cent, but the momentum has been with Le Pen, who has clawed back about five percentage points over the past week.

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