Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

French presidential hopefuls wrap up campaigns in tight race

French presidential hopefuls wrap up campaigns in tight race

Risky though this may sound for investors, whose confidence is built on the certainty of the single European market and common currency, he is sill not as risky as Le Pen; the National Front candidate is campaigning on a platform of "Frexit" - taking France not only out of the EU but out of the euro too. "A "risk rally" of the kind we saw after the Brexit vote is highly unlikely if Le Pen were to be elected", they said.

Hundreds of protesters have marched in Marseille against French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, ahead of her final rally in the southern port city.

That put the two men only three percentage points behind Le Pen - on 22 percent - and trailing Macron, who consolidated his status as the frontrunner on 25 percent.

Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen have lost steam in the run-up to Sunday's vote, but are still expected to qualify for the May 7 run-off, with the centrist winning that second round, according to a Cevipof poll of 11,601 people for Le Monde newspaper. Polls show that support for Macron is shallow, with even those who say they back him unsure whether they will actually turn out for a candidate with no formal party affiliation and a platform that seeks to please both the left and right. If this fails, withdrawal from the European Union could become reality. Given the funding gaps they now have on their loan books, a Le Pen government would seriously threaten their resilience.

Compared to Le Pen and her team, Europe's leaders seem woefully underprepared.

Nevertheless, recent analysis by UBS projects that a Le Pen victory would be accompanied by a crash in Eurozone stocks of up to 35 percent, as well as a 10-percent weakening of the euro. High-yield European bond yields could also fall by up to 17 percent, while yields in the US Treasury market could shed up to 100 basis points.

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.

The report warns that the European authorities have, in the past, pushed similar policies that contributed to economic crises and recessions in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal, so the recommendations for France should be viewed with skepticism.

Opinion polls forecast that the 39-year-old pro-EU, centrist Macron would win the contest easily, depriving Le Pen of the chance to become France's first woman president at 48. Le Pen has a limited base.

PARIS (AP) - Belgium's federal prosecutor says the country had opened an investigation into one of the suspects arrested for plotting an attack that officials say was thwarted days before the French presidential election. As with those events, it seems once more that the coming French elections have been positioned as a battle between the nationalists and the globalists.

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