What happened today in France's presidential race

A man puts up a campaign poster for French presidential election candidate Marine Le Pen in the city of Dieppe, northwestern France, on April 14, 2017

With nine days left until the first round of France's presidential election, prosecutors moved against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and the race began looking like a four-way affair.

Here's what happened in the campaign on Friday:

- Le Pen legal woes deepen -

French prosecutors have asked the European parliament to lift Le Pen's immunity over an expenses scandal.

Le Pen, who is a member of the European Parliament (MEP), has invoked her parliamentary immunity in refusing to attend questioning by investigating magistrates.

Le Pen, who dismisses the probe as a plot to derail her campaign bid, shrugged off the move.

But her lawyer said he was surprised because his client had expressed willingness to answer questions after general elections in June, "depending on results of the presidential vote".

If elected president -- a scenario analysts deem unlikely but not impossible -- Le Pen would have immunity from prosecution.

- Polls tighten -

The head of the far-right National Front (FN) and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron have been neck-and-neck for weeks at the head of the pack in voter surveys for the April 23 first round of the vote.

But polls now show second-tier candidates -- Communist-backed eurosceptic Jean-Luc Melenchon and scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon -- closing the gap.

An Ipsos poll for the daily Le Monde out Friday showed Macron and Le Pen on 22 percent for the first round, both down two points in under a week.

Melenchon continued a spectacular surge, polling 20 percent, just one point ahead of Fillon, who has been regaining ground lost to a fake jobs investigation.

The poll echoed a raft of surveys this week showing the four top contenders bunching together, creating six possible line-ups in the May 7 run-off of the top two candidates.

- Unsuitable pressure -

A wealthy friend of Fillon said he came under "political pressure" to stay quiet about bespoke suits he offered the candidate.

Fillon spoke to Robert Bourgi about the matter several times, the high-flying lawyer said.

The Franco-Lebanese lawyer said he was annoyed "to have had to lie (about the gifts) for a week".

Fillon has since returned the suits worth 13,000 euros ($14,000) from the luxury Parisian tailor Arnys.

Bourgi said earlier that there was neither "conflict of interest nor influence-peddling" involved in the gifting of the suits to Fillon.