Mr. Dupont-Aignan’s endorsement was first announced on Friday, amid the political fallout of the resignation of the interim leader of the National Front, Ms. Le Pen’s party, because of comments he made in 2000 praising a Holocaust denier and expressing doubt that the Nazis used poison gas to murder Jews.
Mr. Dupont-Aignan, who heads a right-wing party called Debout La France, or “Stand Up, France,” does not bring with him a substantial number of voters, and most of his supporters were already expected to choose Ms. Le Pen in the second round. But it is the first time the National Front has entered into a formal alliance with another political party with the hope of forming a joint government, representing an additional step in Ms. Le Pen’s bid to “un-demonize” the party.
Mr. Dupont-Aignan has drawn heavy criticism for his endorsement, especially among politicians on the right who noted his past declarations that his “Gaullist” convictions — meaning his attachment to the political heritage of late president Charles de Gaulle — were incompatible with an alliance with the National Front.
“Nicolas Dupont-Aignan is showing his true face, that of betrayal,” the center-right Republican party said in a statement. The Republican candidate, François Fillon, did not make it into the second round of the elections, and the party has called on its members to vote against Ms. Le Pen.
Ms. Le Pen said the agreement with Mr. Dupont-Aignan had led to “modifications” in her platform. Mr. Dupont-Aignan mentioned, for instance, a “less systematic” use of import taxes. And in a joint statement on Saturday, the two said that leaving the eurozone was not a “prerequisite to all economic policy,” a softening of Ms. Le Pen’s previous position.
Still, the two politicians agree on a vast number of policies, including a hard-line approach to security and an emphasis on the need to increase economic protectionism and to reduce the powers of the European Union, which has become one of the campaign’s major issues. France’s current president, François Hollande, noted on Saturday that the French election was a “European choice.”
“The choice that is being presented on Sunday, May 7 is to know if the French — not only globally, but individually — have to fear an exit from the European Union,” Mr. Hollande said. “They have everything to gain from remaining in the European Union.”
Mr. Macron, Ms. Le Pen’s centrist opponent, said on Saturday that her alliance with Mr. Dupont-Aignan was the sign of a “real clarification in French political life.”
“There is a reactionary, nationalist and anti-European right that has structured itself and that is now an important political force in the second round of this presidential elections,” Mr. Macron said at a campaign…