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Macron and France need Germany (and vice versa)

25 April 2017

Far-right leader and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, Marine Le Pen, surrounded by bodyguards, celebrates with supporters after exit poll results of the first round of the presidential election were announced at her election headquarters in Henin-Beaumont, northern France on Sunday.

The FTSE 100 index has kicked off the week in positive territory, with investors cheering news that centrist Emmanuel Macron has come out on top in the first round of France's presidential election which took place over the weekend.

In a televised speech from the Elysee Palace, Hollande warned that Le Pen's anti-immigrant nationalism would "deeply divide France", which has been under a state of emergency since the 2015 ISIS terror attacks.

Analysts said the euro's dip from its session high likely indicated profit-taking rather than doubts about a Macron victory over Le Pen in the second round.

Republican Francois Fillon earned 19.9%, while communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon finished fourth with 19.6%. Now they have two further weeks to present their radically different views of France - and France's place within Europe and the wider world - and the result is still too close to call.

Image: A map showing how France voted with Macron shaded pink, Le Pen (purple), Fillon (blue) and Melenchon (orange).

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.

Addressing thousands of flag-waving supporters in Paris on Sunday evening, Macron said he aimed to unite "patriots" against "the threat of nationalists".

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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. "He criticised French culture", Florian Philippot, deputy leader of Le Pen's National Front, told BFM TV.

The outgoing French president issued his warning in the wake of the first round of presidential voting yesterday.

Le Pen offers an alternative for anyone skeptical of the European Union and France's role in it, said Louis Aliot, another National Front vice president.

French police said six officers and three protesters were injured and 29 people were arrested during election night violence, which saw cars burned and confrontations between riot police and demonstrators in Paris.

The polls, judging by what the other candidates obtained, indicate that Macron will become the 25th president of the Republic with 62% of vote versus 38%.

The establishment centre-left and centre-right parties -the traditional centres of power in French politics - have already circled the wagons around Mr Macron. Still, Ms. Le Pen's chances can not be ruled out.

Interior ministry final figures in the highly-contested first round gave Macron 23.74% of the votes against Le Pen's 21.53.