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Police, protesters clash ahead of Le Pen rally

21 April 2017

It would represent a seismic shift in France's political landscape, featuring neither of the mainstream parties that have governed the country for decades, and pitting a man who set up his party just a year ago against a woman who wants to take France out of the European Union. This suggests that the FX market, which has been good at predicting market volatility in recent elections, is becoming less concerned about a market-negative outcome from the French election, which may suggest that they have a degree of confidence that Le Pen won't make it to the second round on Sunday, and it could be a more euro-friendly Macron/ Fillon outcome.

But, she said, her first job as president would be to pull France out of the borderless Schengen agreement and give the nation back its borders, which she called a "sieve" for the entry of terrorists who she said travel Europe like tourists.

A win for Macron with Fillon in second place would restore faith in centrist politics, which has been eroded ever since last year's Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and Trump's triumph in the US Presidential election. Migrants are in unfortunate (situations), but there are people from France struggling and they must be helped urgently. "To not do so would be an injustice", said Dorothee, 38, a prison guard in the northern town of Bapaume.

Jean-Yves Camus, an academic and expert on the FN, told AFP that Le Pen had returned to the "fundamentals, and particularly immigration" in the final run-in.

There is "a feeling of being pushed aside, abandoned".

Belgium's federal prosecutor says the country had opened an investigation into one of the suspects arrested for plotting an attack that officials say was thwarted days before the French presidential election.

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Still, security is a worry for the French in the wake of the string of Islamist-inspired attacks that have killed more than 230 people since the beginning of 2015.

That worry has been a boon for the far-right party, which has made public safety one of its priorities.

Marine Le Pen at a campaign rally in Paris.

Is the market too optimistic on Le Pen's chances? . We were betrayed, we were robbed.

"It seems markets are expecting a slower pace of policymaking this year, compared to what had been expected earlier in the year", Harajli said.

"But I think our partners will want us to stay because without France, there is no Europe".

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"Mainstream politicians don't care about rural voters".

Lenders have refused to bankroll her run for the presidency, putting her at a financial disadvantage to other candidates.

"I voted for (Nicolas) Sarkozy, we got nothing".

Some of these reforms, though met with harsh criticism, were enacted and have led to President Francois Hollande's downfall.

He has climbed to as much as 20 percent in recent polls from below 15 percent last month, closing in on Le Pen in what has become a tight four-horse race to choose the two contenders who will go through to the run-off on May 7.

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