Le Pen lifted party from pariah status

Far-right leader and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, Marine Le Pen, surrounded by bodyguards, celebrates with supporters after exit poll results of the first round of the presidential election were announced at her election headquarters in Henin-Beaumont, northern France on Sunday.

Already analysts are saying Le Pen doesn't have any chance of winning, especially as some of the other candidates in the primaries have all thrown their support behind Macron specifically to block her.

The question that will be on the minds of many observers, however, is whether the majority of French voters believe they have sufficiently voted "against the system" in the first round of voting or if they will continue to drift towards the extreme views of Ms Le Pen.

Farage said he was not "calling it" for Le Pen, but predicted the gap between the two candidates will "narrow considerably" in the next two weeks.

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Macron's leading 23.9 percent of the vote represents "quite a fundamental realignment of politics in France, and maybe more broadly in Europe", Huw Pill, chief European economist at Goldman Sachs, told CNBC's Squawk Box Monday. Polls consider him the front-runner but that's no guarantee that the French will come together to stop Le Pen the way they stopped her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, from reaching the presidency in 2002.

She has worked hard to soften her party's image and garnered support from many voters by portraying herself as an anti-establishment candidate who would defend French interests and jobs against the demands of the European Union and globalisation.

"If you are a Japanese former holder of French sovereign debt, you probably can't just buy it all back straight away, it may be people will wait until the second round", said Richard Benson, co-head of portfolio investment with currency fund Millennium Global in London.

Mr Hollande said in a televised address: "The presence of the far-right in the second round is a risk for the country".

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Mr. Macron, who campaigned on a pro-Europe political platform with promises of economic reforms and better governance, won 23.75% of the vote, while Ms. Le Pen, who during the campaign repeatedly attacked the European Union, globalisation and France's immigration policies to drum up support, came second, polling 21.53%.

According to two opinion polls that were carried out on Sunday night, Macron would beat Le Pen by 62-64 percent to 36-38 percent. He wants a common European policy for countries to share the burden of immigration, no further restrictions on headscarves or other Islamic religious symbols, an increase in military spending to the NATO-mandated 2 percent, and wants more and stronger European integration (Donald Trump will be happy on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation score and probably take credit).

For all the paeans to Macron's unifying vision in divided times, it is now up to French voters to decide whether to entrust him with this nuclear-armed nation in the May 7 presidential runoff.

He said La Rotonde, one of Macron's favourite eateries, "isn't exactly Le Fouquet's". She does not support France's movement against gay marriage, is not literal in her interpretation of Catholicism and has furiously defended women's right to abortion.

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"In one year, we've changed the face of French political life", he said to shouts of "Macron!" They now have a choice between two contrasting candidates.

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