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Le Pen Faces Macron in French Presidential Election Runoff

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Voters in France have comprehensively snubbed the country’s political establishment, sending far-right populist Marine Le Pen and political novice Emmanuel Macron through to the second round of the country’s presidential election, early results indicate.

With 97% of polling stations declared, newcomer Macron was leading the field with 23.9%. National Front leader Le Pen was close behind on 21.4%.

The result upended traditional French politics: Neither candidate hails from the establishment parties that have dominated the country for decades.

It was a stunning victory for Macron, 39, a former investment banker who has never before stood for elected office and now becomes the favorite to become France’s next President. “We did it,” he told jubilant supporters.

It was also a success for Le Pen, who has spent years attempting to rid the Front National of the toxic legacy of her father. “It is time to free French people from arrogant elites … I am the people’s candidate,” she declared.

But Macron remains the frontrunner, and the markets moved to reflect that.

The euro jumped against the dollar to its highest level since November as investors bet that the chances of Le Pen winning power were fading.

Stocks got a lift too — futures markets indicated gains of more than 0.5% for the main Dow Jones and S&P indexes./CNN

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