AA: France's Muslims urged to vote for Macron in run-off

This year they took to Twitter and vowed to abstain, unhappy at the choice of candidates.

A televised debate between the two of them on May 3 will be vital in shaping opinions heading into the final election weekend that will define France's future and the EU's. That showed how she and her expanding electorate are becoming an increasingly unavoidable force and feature on the landscape, however unsavory that reality is to mainstream politicians who immediately appealed for a repeat of the "all against Le Pen" second-round unity of 2002.

Le Pen told French TV she needed to be above partisan considerations.

As for Le Pen, a high turnout could improve the far-rightist's score but not much enough to break glass ceiling and defy "everything except Le Pen" voting prospect.

"It will be interesting to see whether the same complacency that left us surprised last June - when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union - creeps back into the markets in the coming weeks", said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The tweet like most of those posted under the hashtag appeared to be from leftist voters unhappy that neither Jean-Luc Melenchon or Benoit Hamon made the run off vote. Polls give Macron a 20-point advantage, which has forced Le Pen to take a break from her role as National Front leader to focus on the campaign.

Endorsements for Macron from the established French parties of the center-right and center-left will likely make it even tougher for Le Pen to get an absolute majority in the second vote. They just promoted a kind of marketing person - which is Emmanuel Macron who came from nowhere, without any program, or at least any detailed program so far in order to fight these new trends. Many of his voters kept their far-right political sympathies to themselves, afraid of being labelled racists and anti-Semites by association with the ex-Foreign Legionnaire convicted for describing Nazi gas chambers as a "detail of history". According to a recent poll, their supporters were more likely to fear unemployment and financial insecurity, and were more critical than Macron supporters about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.

A governing coalition seems the more plausible scenario, and the question is whether he would be able to cobble one together from more centrist socialists and more reasonable center-right members, Berman said.

In fact, for each 1,000-euro drop in the median income in a given area, Le Pen scored almost two extra percentage points, according to a Reuters calculation using results and data from the Social Affairs Ministry. He has since been heavily criticized.

Stopping the far-right is the immediate priority for the Socialist and Republican parties, but going so far as to call for a vote in favour of Emmanuel Macron has not been easy.

If Macron manages not only to win the presidential race, but win by a hefty margin, it could help him overcome the fact that his movement is only roughly a year old. "He is just not as bad".

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Speaking to voters from the Elysee Palace, the Socialist leader said France is in danger of "becoming isolated and breaking away from the EU" if Ms Le Pen sweeps to power.

But that doesn't mean the former investment banker has been given a true mandate from voters.