France's mainstream politicians unite to back Macron over Le Pen

Macron, while rejecting the white nationalism and isolationism of Le Pen, presented himself as deeply sympathetic to the have-nots' concerns. "For my part, I will vote for Emmanual Macron", Hollande said on Monday.

Le Pen has invested much energy in pulling the National Front away from its historic fascist and antisemitic image, going so far as to expel her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in August 2015 from the party he co-founded in 1972.

Neither candidate hails from the established parties that have dominated the country for decades.

Fire destroys boat at Gold Coast marina Plumes of black smoke have been filmed billowing from a boat at the Runaway Bay Marina.

"Now is the moment to move from words to action and it is the reason why it seemed essential to me to take leave from the presidency of the National Front."

"He criticized French culture", Florian Philippot, deputy leader of Le Pen's National Front told BFM TV, saying she and Macron held completely different visions of France.

The euro steadied on Tuesday, pausing after a rally sparked by the first-round results of the French presidential election, while the Canadian dollar fell after the U.S. slapped duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

Emmanuel Macron in Le Touquet, northern France.

French voters are facing the choice of either seeking prosperity through cooperation with the worldwide community or closing their nation under the principle of focusing on its own interests.

The pro-EU Macron needs to respond to discontent and anxiety among French people about such consequences of European integration as transfers of operations in traditional industries to other countries and surging inflows of immigrants and refugees.

MALCOLM BRABANT: She supports the popular thesis that Macron will probably win the second round with about 60 percent of the vote.

Marine Le Pen poses for a selfie Monday after getting a haircut in Paris.

Ms Le Pen seized on a jihadist attack that claimed the life of a policeman on the Champs Elysees in Paris three days before the vote to stress her tough line on immigration and Islam. "Patriots should come together to fight those who promote unbridled globalisation", she said.

The French campaign was dogged by constant speculation, with some pundits raising the spectre of a "hidden vote" for rightwing Fillon or Le Pen, sampling errors or a herd mentality among the pollsters.

Mr Macron, 39, has never stood for election before, and if he wins would become France's youngest-ever president.

Macron had 23.8 per cent in the first round and Le Pen had 21.5 per cent, according to results from the Interior Ministry, with 97.4 per cent of the votes counted.

"They're taking the French for idiots", he said.

Meyer Habib, a Jewish parliamentarian from the center-right UDI party, used the occasion of Yom HaShoah on Monday to urge a strong turnout against Le Pen.

"The risk-on sentiment is resulting in foreign inflows into Asia supporting asset prices, and investors are putting North Korean tensions to one side for now", said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

He said he would bring in new faces and new talent to transform a stale political system once elected.

Both candidates have now returned to the campaign trail, with less than two weeks to go before French voters return to the ballot boxes. Partisan affiliations are hard to scrub under the best circumstances and she's trying to do it under the worst.

The former economy minster won nearly 24 percent of the vote in the first round on Sunday, closely followed by right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, who garnered 21.3 percent.