Published: Tue, April 25, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Fillon leads French-Israeli votes by far

EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici warned Monday that although pro-Europe centrist Emmanuel Macron won the first round of France's presidential election, far-right leader Marine Le Pen is still a contender.

The euro surged against the United States dollar and the yen sank on Monday on relief over Emmanuel Macron's victory against anti-euro nationalist Marine Le Pen in the first round of France's presidential elections.

Opinion polls predict that Mr. Macron will win the second round as a majority of voters regard Ms. Le Pen and her party as risky for France's democracy and its values.

Ahead of Sunday's vote, markets had been contemplating a variety of nightmare scenarios for them, including one in which Ms Le Pen would go through to a runoff against the far left's Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Speaking after last week's terror attack in France, US President Donald Trump said she was "strongest on borders, and she's the strongest on what's been going on in France".

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

Most left-wing rioters were angry with the election results, in which none of the traditional candidates managed to get to the second round, paving a way to outsiders like Marine Le Pen and Emanuel Macron.

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While their policies on higher education are unlikely to be the decisive factor in swaying the electorate, they are nonetheless - as I explore in a feature this week - revealing of the candidates' wider attitudes. "Patriots should come together to fight those who promote unbridled globalisation", she said.

Voters rejected the two mainstream parties that have alternated power for decades, in favor of Le Pen and the untested Macron, who has never held elected office and who founded his own political movement just past year. This is not the first time a National Front candidate is entering the second round.

Macron's internal security programme calls for 10,000 more police officers, and 15,000 new prison places.

Philippot compared a dinner Macron had at La Rotonde restaurant, in the former bohemian district of Montparnasse, on Sunday with the election-night party ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy held at a chic venue on the Champs-Elysees in 2007, which earned him a "bling-bling president" label.

All analysts agree that the positive scenario after yesterday's victory by Macron depends on him winning the second round.

But Macron's party spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, said that Le Pen is hardly a vector of change.

Kantar's Mr Lecerf said Ms Le Pen would have had more chance of victory in the final round if there had been a low turnout in the first. "He takes a much more hardline position against Islam than Macron", he said, "and many French Jews in Israel are concerned about their friends and relatives in France because of the rise of radical Islam there".

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