French election: What happens next?

Far-right supporters attend a presidential campaign rally by National Front leader Marine Le Pen at the Dome De Marseille on Wednesday. 
 Sam Beard

Far-right supporters attend a presidential campaign rally by National Front leader Marine Le Pen at the Dome De Marseille on Wednesday. Sam Beard

The outcome is a vindication for pollsters who successfully predicted the top two slots. (Onwards!) movement: "In one year, we have changed the face of French politics". Macron is a former economy minister and wants to open borders and remain in the European Union, but has relatively little political experience.

That in turn reduces the prospect of an anti-establishment shock on the scale of Britain's vote last June to quit the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as USA president. "The French presidential campaign has turned into a stinging rebuke of the traditional parties and their leaders". Pictures of waves of migrants coming ashore on European beaches resonate powerfully in the north of France, where the landscape is dotted with shuttered factories. What's more, whoever wins will face a challenge to implement his or her agenda.

Macron, meanwhile, was the image of serenity as he posed for selfies with voters after casting his ballot in the coastal town of Le Touquet in northern France alongside his wife, Brigitte Macron.

Macron congratulated all of the candidates who did not advance by name, taking the first step toward consolidating their support.

Rachline and others also said that they welcomed having Macron, a former investment banker, as a rival in the final round.

In Asian markets, the euro soared two percent to $1.09395 when markets opened before slipping back to around $1.0886, the euro's highest level since the election of Donald Trump as the U.S. president on November 10.

Though Macron, 39, is a comparative political novice who has never held elected office, new opinion polls on Sunday had him easily winning the final clash against the 48-year-old Le Pen.

Socialist presidential candidate Benoit Hamon, who was far behind in Sunday's results, quickly conceded defeat.

"A new dawn for French politics".

According to the updated estimation, Fillon ends up in the third place with 19.9 percent of votes, while far-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon ranks fourth with 19.3 percent.

Le Pen visited Putin in Moscow in March and, like Trump, used her campaign to call for better relations with Russian Federation.

"Given that we faced six weeks of unrelentingly negative coverage that disadvantaged Le Pen, what Le Pen achieved tonight is remarkable", said senior aide Jean-Lin Lacapelle. On the economy, she wants to abandon the euro, take control of the central bank and fire up the printing presses to finance welfare spending.

Macron vowed to unite voters to ensure he would become the youngest president of France.

He said the second round presented "an opportunity for hope" for France and Europe, in contrast with "the threat of nationalism".

If, as most analysts expect, he emerges as the victor of the second round of the election, he will face the task of forging relations with Trump, a politician who temperamentally and philosophically has more in common with Le Pen.

Presidential aides said the outgoing Socialist leader, who decided against seeking re-election in the face of dire approval ratings, would soon explicitly endorse the centrist.

Le Pen called for "Islamist mosques" to be closed after the attack. "There are big pockets of untapped support for Marine Le Pen and I think she will be able to gather a clear majority behind her".

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