Marine Le Pen and Macron Advance to Runoff in French Presidential Election

But the far-right candidate insisted Monday that "we can win; we will win".

Final voting figures from the weekend's first round had put frontrunner Mr Macron top with 23.7 per cent share of the vote and Ms Le Pen, the far-right candidate, just behind on 21.5 per cent.

All undocumented immigrants would be expelled, Ms Le Pen says, and immigration would be cut to 10,000 a year.

"I've come here to start the second round campaign in the only way I know - on the ground with the French people", she said.

Octavio Marenzi, chief executive of the financial research consultancy Opimas, in Paris, said: "Macron will be reassuring to markets, with his pledge to lower corporate taxes and to lighten the administrative burden on firms".

Ms Le Pen offers a more measured and charming message to her father's, although before assuming control of the party in 2010, she attracted controversy for comparing Muslims praying in the street to the German occupation. He pointed to the Dutch elections last month, where a candidate who ran on the pledge to pull the Netherlands from the European Union, lost.

"Macron is paradoxically the best opponent for Le Pen".

Delomez, of the Socialist Party, has been in office since 2008, and is livid that 38 percent of his region voted on Sunday for the National Front candidate who has a hard stance against Islam and refugees.

Opening the battle for second-round votes, Ms Le Pen highlighted the continuing threat of Islamist militancy, which has claimed more than 230 lives in France since 2015, saying the 39-year-old Macron was "to say the least, weak" on the issue. "I am the presidential candidate".

Conservative candidate Francois Fillon got 20.01%, and left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, 19.58% of the vote.

"I think her campaign was too laid-back".

"But risks remain. Not only is there the run-off election for France in two weeks, but there is also a parliamentary election in June".

Ms Le Pen, who has been hoping to emulate Donald Trump's victory in the U.S., said the French faced a choice between "runaway globalisation" and a protectionist France.

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.

During her visit to Moscow in late March when she met Vladimir Putin, Le Pen pointed out that she is "in favor of developing relations with Russia" and called for cooperation with Moscow in the fight against terrorism.

Speaking from the Elysee presidential palace, he said that Le Pen's goal of pulling France out of the euro would devastate the country's economy.

The president of the European Jewish Congress lamented Le Pen's success.

Le Pen senior went on to suffer a stinging defeat when mainstream parties closed ranks to keep him out.

On Monday, Le Pen announced a gambit created to help her do just that.

  • Leroy Wright