World Bulletin / News Desk
In a 70-second video clip aired with French subtitles on Macron’s official Twitter account on Thursday, Obama said he admired the independent candidate’s campaign.
"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," Obama said.
"I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run. He has stood up for liberal values, he put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world and he is committed to a better future for the French people," Obama added. "He [Macron] appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears."
Macron emerged with 24.01 percent of the vote in April 23’s first round vote, beating nearest rival, the National Front's Marine Le Pen, who won 21.30 percent.
The 2017 election marks the first time since 1974 that neither presidential candidate is from a mainstream party.
Macron was outgoing President Francois Hollande's top adviser on economic issues from 2012 to 2014, and served as economy minister in the president's Socialist government for two years.
The ex-investment banker later founded his own political movement, En Marche! (On the move), in April last year.
"Because of how important this election is, I also want you to know that I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward. En Marche, Vive La France," Obama added.
The former U.S. leader's backing comes a day after a heated televised debate between Macron and Le Pen, in which the centrist candidate came out as more convincing according to polls.
Throughout the debate, the far-right candidate deflected many of the questions on her campaign and program, pointing instead to mistakes by the Socialist government Macron was a part of and launching personal attacks against him.
She accused him at one point of having a hidden offshore bank account in the Bahamas. Macron described her suggestion as "defamation" and filed an official complaint on Thursday, according to his campaign team.
French prosecutors have opened a probe, the Le Figaro newspaper has reported.
Surveys trying to predict the outcome of the second-round clash between Macron and Le Pen have consistently shown the centrist candidate winning by a comfortable margin.
The new president will be formally confirmed by mid-May. The presidential vote will then be followed by two-round legislative elections in June.