Barack Obama has made a last-minute intervention in the French presidential election in support of Emmanuel Macron, saying “the success of France matters to the entire world”.

Macron, a centrist, faces Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National in a runoff vote on Sunday. Polls put him 20 points ahead.

The former US president said he had chosen to declare his support, in a video tweeted by Macron on Thursday afternoon, because of the importance of the election.

“I’m not planning to get involved in many elections now that I don’t have to run for office but the French election is very important to the future of France and the values that we care so much about,” he said.

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