Le Pen steps down as FN president to gather "all the French"

We, along with the rest of the world, have heaved a sigh of relief after the outcome of the first round of the French presidential election.

The euro briefly reached five-month peaks while European shares rose sharply.

Since Marine Le Pen announced she was "no longer the president of the National Front".

In a race that was too close to call up to the last minute, Macron, a pro-EU ex-banker and former economy minister who founded his own party only a year ago, had 23.9 percent of the votes against 21.4 percent for Le Pen, according to figures from the Interior Ministry with 96 percent of votes counted.

Is Marine Le Pen far-right?

Le Pen holds out a still starker comparison, saying French voters will be making a choice between "uncontrolled globalization and the nation".

Mr Macron's internal security program calls for 10,000 more police officers and 15,000 new prison places, and he has recruited a number of security experts to his entourage.

However, opinion polls over the course of the campaign have consistently found voters to be more concerned about the economy and the trustworthiness of politicians.

While some said they might back Le Pen, a Harris Interactive poll suggested they represented a minority: some 52 percent of Melenchon supporters would back Macron in the run-off, 36 percent would abstain and only 12 percent would vote for Le Pen.

The other seven candidates were far behind.

Criticism came from all quarters Tuesday, including from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the long-time nationalist leader who questioned her campaign.

"Macron is paradoxically the best opponent for Le Pen". The statement said the result of the poll would not amount to an endorsement.

"Emmanuel is not a patriot".

In a victory speech, Macron told supporters of his fledgling En Marche!

Ahead of a May 7 runoff against centrist Emmanuel Macron, these are some conclusions that can be drawn by plotting Le Pen's scores in France's "departments" - similar to counties - against government data on key social and economic factors.

Karine Monsegu, a La France Insoumise candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, said jokingly in an interview with Sputnik France that on May 7, she will "vote for Melenchon", a clear nod to her desire to drop a blank ballot into the box.

Whoever wins on May 7 will need to try to build a majority six weeks later in a parliament where the National Front now has only two seats and Mr Macron's year-old En Marche!

In a tweet, Ms Le Pen said she had taken leave from her role as leader of the National Front and was now only the presidential candidate. (Onwards!) movement has none.

This judgment of Macron is still strongly felt among numerous Sarkozy-faction on the right-wing of The Republicans though others, loosely represented by more moderate ex-prime minister Alain Juppe, have suggested they may choose to join in a majority of support for Macron.

Voters rejected the two mainstream parties that have alternated power for decades in favor of Le Pen and the untested Macron, who has never held elected office and who founded his own political movement just previous year.

  • Leroy Wright