Pollsters project Macron vs. Le Pen in French presidential runoff

Pollster projections from partial results indicate far-right Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron have qualified for the second round of France's presidential election.

Even if Le Pen springs a surprise on May 7, her "Frexit" ambitions will require constitutional change which experts say will be hard, especially as her National Front party only has a handful of federal lawmakers and is seen as highly unlikely to win anything like a majority in June's parliamentary elections.

An Ipsos-Sopra Steria poll published by French media, including the daily Le Monde, projected Macron with 23.9 percent while putting Le Pen at 21.7 percent.

Politicians on the moderate left and right, including the Socialist and Republicans party losers in Sunday's first-round vote, manoeuvred to block Le Pen's path to power in the May 7 runoff.

His victory makes him the frontrunner in next month's election, and marked a huge defeat for the two center-right and center-left groupings that have dominated French politics for 60 years. Their enthusiasm only grew when major rivals Socialist Benoit Hamon and conservative Francois Fillon conceded defeat, then urged voters to vote for Macron in the runoff in order to defeat Le Pen.

Supporters of Mr Macron and his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, went wild with cheers as polling agency projections suggested they could advance to the presidential run-off. This may not happen in France as a majority of French see Le Pen as a threat to democracy. Far-right Marine Le Pen is expected to come second. While the final election round is to be held in two weeks, traders should continue to monitor the CAC 40 and other European equities markets for increased volatility during this period.

European stock markets have surged on the open as investors welcomed the result of the first round of the French presidential election. "You've just spoken for seven minutes and I have no idea where you stand", she said.

A new Harris survey saw Macron winning the runoff by 64 percent to 36, and an Ipsos/Sopra Steria poll gave a similar result.

Trump hasn't technically endorsed Le Pen, but said in a recent interview that she's "strongest on borders, and the strongest on what's been going on in France".

In an American-style move unusual in French politics, Macron appeared on stage hand in hand with his wife, Brigitte, both waving at the crowd with tears in their eyes.

In many ways, the contest between Le Pen and Macron is much like the fierce contest one witnessed between US President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last November: Trump stood for "America first" and was against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, globalisation and immigration, whereas Hillary stood for a liberal world order and equal citizens' rights for all Americans.

National Front vice-president Louis Aliot insisted that Le Pen offers an alternative for anyone skeptical of the European Union and France's role in it.

Throughout the campaign, Macron insisted that France was "contrarian" - ready to elect a pro-globalisation liberal at a time when rightwing nationalists are making gains across the world. Le Pen and Macron are now set to face each other in a runoff election on May 7.

Protesters burned cars, danced around bonfires and dodged riot police overnight at the Place de la Bastille and Republique.

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