Chasing pair Fillon, Melenchon level as French election nears

Emmanuel Macron and François Fillon before a TV debate | Patrick Kovarik  AFP via Getty Images

Marine Le Pen came third in the first round of the 2012 election and could be the first National Front candidate to make the second round since her father did so in 2002.

That has set off a wave of market volatility. In lieu of openness, Le Pen - who now casts herself as a Gaullist - wants to deepen "great power" relations with Russian Federation and the U.S., as she focuses on defending "traditional" Christian values and fighting terror in the context of a multipolar world order.

"A second round Melenchon-Le Pen, it's terrifying for the country, for the image of the country and for its future, because the choices proposed are extremely risky", Bayrou said. Should a Le Pen victory transpire, therefore, the possibility of an exit from the European Union would imply that French banks would lose much access to capital, as well as experience a surge in funding costs.

The euro held near a three-week high against the USA dollar on Thursday as some traders shut down broad bets against the common currency ahead of the first round of the French presidential elections on Sunday. About 72 percent of voters want France to keep the euro, according to an Ifop poll published in Le Figaro newspaper last month.

Arguably, however, it is the French banking system that could suffer the biggest shock from a Le Pen triumph.

Still, Hense puts only a 10 percent chance of either Le Pen or Melenchon becoming president.

There may even be a case for Europe's leaders to facilitate France's withdrawal from the European Union, lest Le Pen attempt to dismantle the European Union from within, by building alliances with the likes of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

More news: UK Labour leader comes out fighting ahead of election

Macron yesterday told a rally that he was the only candidate capable "of ensuring the security" of his countrymen and pledged to "track down all those who have attacked our country or are planning to do so and prevent them from doing harm". But that is precisely the point: Bringing them out into the open demonstrates just how disruptive Le Pen's victory would be.

The BVA poll showed abstentions at between 20 and 24 percent.

Independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, who was at the top of a recent poll, reached out to the Muslim community for solutions.

A win for Macron with Fillon in second place would restore faith in centrist politics, which has been eroded ever since last year's Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and Trump's triumph in the US Presidential election.

The Nomura analysts noted the combined chance of either Le Pen or Melenchon winning the first round is around 40 percent.

"A euro zone break-up would become increasingly likely if a core member were to leave".

It is worth digging a bit deeper into the data to figure out whether the French election could throw a Brexit or Trump-style grenade into the financial markets. "A "risk rally" of the kind we saw after the Brexit vote is highly unlikely if Le Pen were to be elected", they said.

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