France Elections: first round of elections raises stocks in France and Europe

Wenger noted what an achievement it was for Macron to be closing in on the French presidency despite not having the backing of one of the traditional major parties.

Workers whistled and jostled with Macron's security guards while a burning tire threw a cloud of black smoke across the site when the former economy minister visited the tumble-drier factory in his hometown of Amiens.

French presidential front runner Emmanuel Macron rejected accusations that he was resting on his laurels after winning the first round of the election, insisting "nothing's won yet".

PARIS (AP) - Far-right presidential contender Marine Le Pen said Tuesday that people are revolting against the elite and predicted that could translate into a "very big surprise" when ballots are cast May 7 in France's final round to choose a new leader - and it will be her. "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.

Opinion polls indicate that the business-friendly Macron, who has never held elected office, will take at least 60% of the vote against Le Pen after two defeated rivals pledged to back him to thwart her eurosceptic, anti-immigrant platform.

After arriving, he told angry workers that the only reason that the anti-EU Le Pen had come was "because I'm here".

Emmanuel Macron, candidate in France's 2017 French presidential election, delivers an address for French nationals in London, Britain, February 21, 2017.

But Le Pen is hoping to peel away voters historically opposed to her National Front Party, long tainted by racism and anti-Semitism.

In what analysts describe as a political natural disaster in France, Le Pen received 21.5% of the French presidential vote, while Macron garnered 23.8% of the vote.

"Macron and all his bobo friends at the Rotonde, the ultra-Parisian place", Le Pen aide Wallerand de Saint Just said. Macron is in favour of France's membership of the European Union, while Le Pen wants the country out of the European bloc.

Observers thought the attack would benefit Le Pen.

Sarkozy insisted in a Facebook post that his stance for Macron is a "choice of responsibility" and "not in any way support" for his project.

"Ten little points, believe me, it's perfectly doable", she said on Monday night.

She has said during the current campaign that she would ban the wearing of kippahs in public in France in order to facilitate a ban on Muslim clothes.

Ms Le Pen, 48, was first out of the blocks after the first round, visiting a food market outside Paris and giving a TV interview in which she accused the pro-European Union Mr Macron of representing "runaway globalisation" and lacking love for his country.

  • Leroy Wright