Macron Hangs on to Lead in French Election, Le Pen's Camp Rows With BrusselsEU | April 20, 2017, Thursday // 09:28| views
Centrist Emmanuel Macron clung on to his status as favorite to win France's presidential election in a four-way race that is too close to call, as the camp of far-right challenger Marine Le Pen ramped up its eurosceptic rhetoric in a row with Brussels, Reuters reported.
A closely-watched Cevipof opinion poll published on Wednesday showed frontrunners Macron and Le Pen both losing some momentum ahead of Sunday's first round, and conservative Francois Fillon and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon still in contention for the second round run-off.
With millions of French voters still undecided or planning to abstain, the vote is the most unpredictable in France in decades and investors are nervous about potential last-minute surprises that could trigger market turmoil.
Le Pen and Melenchon, who both pitch themselves as defenders of French workers, say they could take France out of the European Union and the euro currency. Banks have requisitioned their staff to be at their desks through the night on Sunday to enable them to respond fast to the outcome.
Le Pen has pressed hard her anti-immigration, anti-globalisation message as she seeks to mobilize voters.
The Cevipof poll of 11,601 people showed first round support for Le Pen falling 2.5% since early April to 22.5% and backing for Macron down 2 points to 23%.
Melenchon, a firebrand left-winger who has surged in recent weeks, was on 19%, while Fillon, whose campaign has been hurt by a financial scandal, received 19.5% of support.
Macron would win a head-to-head contest against National Front chief Le Pen, the poll showed.
Another poll, a daily survey by Opinionway, gave similar projections to Cevipof for the top candidates and projected Macron beating Le Pen in the May 7 second round by 65% to 35.
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