Emmanuel Macron picks up endorsement from Hollande

Near-complete results show French centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen have qualified for a May 7 runoff for the French presidency.

We've made the first step which will take the French people to the Élysée Palace.

The markets have experienced a few days of stress with four candidates going up in the polls, who were practically all at the same level if you take into account the margins of error.

As of 12:23 BST, Britain's blue-chip index had added 122.80 points to stand 1.73 percent higher at 7,237.35. Now they have two further weeks to present their radically different views of France - and France's place within Europe and the wider world - and the result is still too close to call.

Macron's good looks, profound understanding of the economy, social media skills and unassuming style have helped his campaign despite the fact that no independent candidate has been elected president in France in decades.

Analysts said Le Pen might find more support amid right-wing voters anxious by security issues and Europe's open borders, who backed either conservative Francois Fillon or nationalist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan in the first round and might balk at backing Macron, a moderate centrist.

The contest is widely seen as a litmus test for the populist wave that past year prompted Britain to vote to leave the European Union and US voters to elect Donald Trump president.

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The establishment centre-left and centre-right parties -the traditional centres of power in French politics - have already circled the wagons around Mr Macron.

The results from the first round of the French Presidential election are in, and they have delivered a pretty damning verdict for France's mainstream political parties.

Conceding defeat even before figures from the count came in, rival conservative and Socialist candidates urged their supporters now to throw their energies into backing Macron and stopping any chance of a second-round victory by Le Pen, whose anti-immigration and anti-Europe policies they said spelled disaster for France.

President Francois Hollande will Tuesday morning pay homage to Jugele at the ceremony at his Paris police precinct during which he will be awarded one of France's highest honours and be posthumously given the rank of captain.

The Interior Ministry announced that the turnout had reached 69.4 percent three hours before the polls closed, compared with 70.6 percent in the first round of presidential voting in 2012. With a female candidate, could misogyny play the same kind of role as many feel it did in the American presidential election?

Bullish bets on the yen fell as Macron's massive lead in polls ahead of the final-round vote reduced anxiety over the future of the common currency, options showed. "He criticised French culture", Florian Philippot, deputy leader of Le Pen's National Front, told BFM TV.

Le Pen has had little to say on this, but Macron wants to develop the trend in this direction begun under the centre-Right president Nicolas Sarkozy and continued under the socialist François Hollande.

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