French Presidential Polls: Macron Must Win Big to Fulfil Pledges

Following similar populist successes in the US and Britain Soini had refused to comment, but this time he took the opportunity to remark on the changes heralded by the first round result.

Now that the French are faced with a clear choice between anti-EU and anti-globalization Marine Le Pen and Pro-EU, pro-free market Emmanuel Macron it's unlikely there will be many, if any, undecided voters.

Macron embraces globalisation and European integration while Le Pen channels the forces of discontent that triggered Brexit and brought Donald Trump to power.

The Socialist Party's candidate, Benoit Hamon, also warned against a Le Pen victory.

Many tweets referred to the "fascist Le Pen and the banker Macron".

Is the result a shock? Risk metrics may continue to remain relatively elevated before the final vote after traders got it wrong going into the Brexit referendum and US elections a year ago.

"We do not recognize the score announced on the basis of opinion polls", he wrote on Facebook.

In 2002 French voters took to the streets to complain about the presence of a far right candidate in the second round of the presidential election. But the major markets showed gains for the week: The Dow rose 0.5%, the S&P 500 advanced 0.9%, and the Nasdaq gained 1.8%, on the heels of two weeks of declines.

The Republicans and their candidate François Fillon were hampered by a number of scandals which led to calls for him to stand down.

Hamon secured just 6.4% of the vote, a disastrous showing for the Socialist Party, whose candidate Francois Hollande won the presidency in 2012 but whose popularity has sunk during his term.

France is suffering from high unemployment, a stagnant economy, security worries, and remains bitterly divided.

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Run-offs are not traditionally fertile territory for Le Pen's National Front.

"She's been in the political system for 30 years".

The pollsters have him as a huge favorite - but there are still a number of potential obstacles which could make his life more hard.

One of Macron's chief concerns will be turnout.

"It could again be a make-or-break outcome for the USA markets, given that Mr. Trump often failed to provide satisfactory details on his "massive" plans during his first 100 days at the office", said Ozkardeskaya, in a note. Many commentators expect the same fate for his daughter, but she has already drawn far more support than he ever did and she has transformed the party's once-pariah image.

Mélenchon's supporters are most likely to abstain in the crucial second round, according to a survey by French consulting firm Odoxa-Dentsu.

She called herself "the candidate for the people" and said the "survival of France" was at stake, the BBC reports.

National Front party officials also joined the chorus, noting that a vote for Le Pen would be a natural move for those fed up with the status quo.

"Marine Le Pen - liberty!" shouted one woman, who gave her name as Valerie.

On almost every single area of policy they disagree - from Europe through to immigration - and they will go to a country as divided as the candidates themselves.

"I want to be the president of patriots in the face of a threat from nationalists", Macron told his supporters on Sunday after the results came through.