French election: Gloves off as Le Pen aide calls Emmanuel Macron 'arrogant'

European markets have jumped higher, with France's main index hitting its highest level since early 2008, amid relief over the results of the first round of the French presidential election. Will "respectable" right-wingers and reactionaries find Marine Le Pen too "vulgar" to vote for? He has recruited a number of security experts to his entourage, and noted that Le Pen has less experience of national government than he does. His campaign are calling him the "king-maker", which may be pushing the truth somewhat.

In contrast to the supporters of Macron, polls show that those who say they will vote for Le Pen are most certain of their vote. "Any significant shift toward Le Pen in the polls could dampen investor sentiment due to her anti-euro stance".

"I'm convinced a big majority of French are opposed to rampant globalisation", Le Pen said, in between selfies, in a town where she got more than 40 percent of the votes on Sunday and far-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, also a harsh critic of globalisation and the political mainstream, came second.

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

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Mr Macron's party spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, said that Ms Le Pen is hardly a vector of change. He called on voters to elect Macron regardless of their opinion of his policies just to make sure Le Pen does not become president, in a pattern known in France as a "republican front", which has been used to keep the National Front out of power.

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.

French stocks are surging ahead of the rest in Europe this morning, while the European financial sector is enjoying its best day of trading in more than a year.

Conservative Francois Fillon, who had been the favourite to win the election before allegations emerged that he had paid his wife and two children from the public purse for work they did not do, came third with less than 20 percent.

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"We must help him [Macron] as much as we can to ensure Le Pen is kept as low down as possible", Mr Valls said on France Inter radio.

Her plans to restore France's borders with its European neighbours, pull out of the eurozone and hold a referendum on leaving the EU had sown fear of another devastating blow to the bloc after Britain's vote to leave.

Macron secured 23.9% of the vote in the Sunday election, based on 97% of polling stations to have reported so far. Twenty-nine people were detained at the Bastille, where protesters waved red flags and sang "No Marine and No Macron!" in anger at the results. Another 300 protesters gathered at Place de la Republique to protest the results.

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