The French presidential campaign has featured divisive rhetoric and a remarkable number of memorable quotes. Of the 11 candidates, only two will make it to the second round of the election.

Exit polls showed centrist Emmanuel Macron with a lead of two percentage points over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who came in second.

Here are the two leading candidates in their own words.

On Islamism:


"Islamism is a monstrous totalitarian ideology that has declared war on our nation, on reason, on civilisation . . . Hate preachers must be expelled, the Islamist mosques closed." - Speech in Paris, April 21, 2017

On France's place in the world:

"What is at stake in this election is the continuity of France as a free nation, our existence as a people ... The French have been dispossessed of their patriotism. They are suffering in silence from not being allowed to love their country ... The divide is no longer between the left and the right, but between the patriots and the globalists." - Speech in Lyon, February 5, 2017

On globalisation:

"Financial globalisation and Islamist globalisation are helping each other out," she said. "Those two ideologies aim to bring France to its knees." - Speech in Lyon, February 5, 2017

On economic policy:

"Putin's Russia is our role model for a patriotic economic policy." - March 2017 in Moscow

On the roundup and detention of about 13,000 Jews by French police in an indoor Parisian stadium called Vel d'Hiv on July 16-17, 1942. Many of them were later deported to Auschwitz:


"I think France is not responsible for the Vel d'Hiv ... I think in a general way, more generally actually, those responsible were those in power then; this is not France." - April 2017, Interview on RTL Radio

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. Photo / AP
French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. Photo / AP


On terrorism


"The zero-risk option doesn't exist. Whoever pretends that with him or her - a few days ago I heard Marine Le Pen say that with her there wouldn't have been an attack - is both irresponsible and a liar. The zero-risk option doesn't exist. We're living with risk. The question is to see how to eradicate this risk." - In an April 21, 2017, interview with RTL

On Europe:

"We can achieve peace with a strong army, a strong diplomacy, deterrent weapons and a strong Europe." - Speech in Nantes, April 20, 2017

On France's colonial past:

"Colonisation is a part of French history. It is a crime, a crime against mankind ... This is a past that we must look in the eye, by apologising to those we harmed." - During a visit to Algeria, February 15, 2017

On his vision:

"Preventing the civilised world from falling apart and enabling the world of tomorrow to happen, such is our responsibility and our mission." - At a rally in Paris, April 17, 2017

On his place in the political spectrum:

"Just like de Gaulle, I choose the best of the right, the left and the centre." - At a rally in Paris, April 17, 2017

On Russia:

"We'll have to talk to Russia ... A great country, with whom we have a shared history. But shouldn't we be outraged when human rights are violated? Should we accept the creation of camps for homosexuals in Chechnya?" - At a rally in Paris, April 17, 2017