French voters send Macron, Le Pen to second round of presidential election

Barack Obama's call to Emmanuel Macron Thursday helped the centrist businessman-politician achieve his first-place showing (23.9 percent) in France's initial presidential voting Sunday, French political pundits told Newsmax.

PARIS (AP) — French voters shut out the country's political mainstream from the presidency for the first time in the country's modern history, and on Monday found themselves being courted across the spectrum for the runoff election.

Socialist candidate Hamon never managed to gather any real momentum in his campaign and ended up in fifth spot - a position which emphasized the disarray of the French Left after five years of unpopular rule by Hollande.

"The challenge is to break completely with the system which has been unable to find solutions to the problems of our country for more than 30 years", Macron said, already eyeing crucial parliamentary elections in June.

François Fillon, the conservative candidate who appears to have come in third place, conceded defeat, saying: "There is no other choice than to vote against the extreme right".

News of the initial results were met by ugly scenes as supporters from both camps engaged in violent clashes in throughout France. Two people were injured and police detained three people as demonstrators burned cars, danced around bonfires and dodged riot police.

Protesters waved red flags and sang "No Marine and No Macron!" in anger at the results of the first-round election.

Some sang "Now burn your electoral cards" or "No Marine and No Macron!".

Investors had feared for the single currency's future if one of the far-left candidates had gotten through to fight Le Pen.

What happens next in the high-stakes Georgia runoff
Republican Karen Handel , 55, a former Georgia secretary of state, won 19.8 percent, and will face Ossoff in the June 20 runoff. Most election observers expected a late night of vote counting, with a race that could be decided by a single point or less.

"While markets had deemed a Le Pen-Macron (run-off) as the most likely outcome, there was an element of uncertainty", said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz.

"[French voters] will reject those who keep telling them how to vote and what to believe", she said. "The campaign was unable to address the difficulties of the French people and the record of (President) Francois Hollande", said Bruno Retailleau after Fillon failed to finish among the top two candidates.

"There is globalisation that endangers civilizations and we should protect borders". Macron got between 23.7 and 24% of the vote.

The final outcome of the French presidential poll is being anxiously monitored around the world as a sign of whether the populist tide that saw Britain vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's election in the United States is still rising or starting to ebb.

However, 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.

Second, I'm very happy because I was voting for Emmanuel Macron, and it's good news for France.

He will enter the second-round of the election as favourite after winning the support of several of the defeated first-round candidates.

- Like Merkel, Macron has taken a strong stand in favour of immigration and the European Union.


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