04/05/2017 15:28 SAST | Updated 04/05/2017 15:28 SAST

Barack Obama Endorses Emmanuel Macron For French President

The former US president made it very clear who he is backing.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters
Emmanuel Macron poses for a selfie as he leaves his home in Paris.

Former US president Barack Obama has endorsed Emmanuel Macron for the next French presidency.

Macron campaign spokesperson Laurence Haim tweeted a video on Thursday of Obama sending his support for the En Marche leader.

"Because of how important this election is, I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward. En Marche. Vive la France," he said at the end of the one-minute clip. "I know that you face many challenges, and I want all my friends in France to how much I am rooting for your success."

"The French election is very important to the future of France and the future of values we care so much about" he said. "He has stood up for liberal values ... He appeals to people's hopes and not their fears," he said.

Obama goes on to say he spoke with Macron about his plans for the country.

"I enjoyed speaking to Emmanuel recently about his independent movement and his vision for the future of France."

Macron is up against Marine Le Pen of the National Front. A run-off election will take place on May 7 as no candidate won a majority in the first round on April 23.

The French presidential election is heating up ahead of Sunday's vote and on Wednesday night the only face-to-face televised debate between the candidates turned into a bitter clash with Macron branding Le Pen a "parasite" who would lead the country into civil war.

She in turn called the former economy minister an arrogant, cold-eyed, "smirking banker" who was colluding with Islamists.