Published: Mon, April 24, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Euro Rallies Against Dollar on Early Results of French Vote 1st Round

In a surprise twist, the polls were basically right.

The euro jumped to its highest since mid-November in early trading on Sunday, after early projections indicated that centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right Marine Le Pen had made it to the second round of the French presidential election. Declaring "the left is not dead!" he urged supporters to back Macron.

Protesters angry at Le Pen's success scuffled with police in Paris.

The selection of Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron presents voters with the starkest possible choice between two diametrically opposed visions of the EU's future and France's place in it. "On the other side ... it's the French who are scared about the future", and who are nostalgic for what they imagine was the security and certainty of a bygone era.

Most of the 11 candidates in the first round campaigned against the European Union, blamed for myriad economic and security woes, and Le Pen will carry their banner proudly into the runoff.

Macron, in his speech, struck the opposite tone.

Le Pen would in all likelihood face a parliament dominated by the traditional parties and leaning to the center-right, and it could stand in the way of her plans to hold a referendum on France's future in Europe. Le Pen's team downplays apocalyptic scenarios, arguing that the euro is headed for a breakup eventually anyway.

"I'm very happy with the results, it's well done, it's a good thing", he said.

But while her nationalistic, far-right platform may be appealing to some, her economic policy, Finel-Honigman explained, "is largely incoherent".

He founded his own party only a year ago.

France is now steaming into unchartered territory, because whoever wins on May 7 can not count on the backing of France's political mainstream parties. French voters are still politically engaged, with turnout in the afternoon at 69 percent, but they are exhausted of traditional politicians, eschewing both the the center-right Republicans and center-left Socialists. He described his En Marche movement as being "neither to the left nor to the right". Citizens "don't recognize themselves in the parties".

Fillon scored 19.9 percent in the first round and far-left contender Jean-Luc Melenchon 19.5 percent.

The absence in the final vote of candidates from either the mainstream left Socialists or the right-wing Republicans party - the two main groups that have governed post-war France - also marks a seismic shift in the nation's political landscape. "It's one or the other, but not the candidates I would have preferred", he added. Both had strong words for the threat that the National Front poses to France.

"This was the expected result, as predicted by the pollsters who were correct (for once!), thus one could assume that the market reaction has already been pried in and any further upside could be short-lived", says Kathleen Brooks at City Index. Mélenchon, whom Finel-Honigman likened to a French Bernie Sanders, received 18.69 percent.

Support for Communist-backed Melenchon, meanwhile, had surged in recent weeks on the back of assured performances in two televised debates.

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