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French Election: A win for pollsters; good for euro

The pair will now go head-to-head in the second and final round of voting on May 7.

The figures do not include results from France's major cities, where Le Pen's level of support tends to be low relative to smaller towns and villages where counts were complete.

Le Pen has proposed holding a referendum on France's membership of the European Union, limiting immigration, increasing control on the country's borders and expelling Islamic extremists.

"They (the people) chose to put me to the first place in the first round of this vote, and I appreciate the honor and great responsibility that was bestowed on me", Macron continued.

The first leg of the presidential election administered a stunning defeat for the two main right and left parties that have dominated France for decades, underlining the dissatisfaction with conventional politics that has been a feature of the French campaign.

In his victory speech, Macron, 39, sounded at times as if he'd already won the election. I consider it my duty to tell you this frankly.

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There were already signs that Macron, who is married to his former school teacher 25 years older than him, would also enjoy support from his defeated rivals in the Republicans and Socialist parties. Hamon polled only 6 percent of the vote.

"It is good that Emmanuel Macron with his focus on strong European Union + social market economy has success". If she were successful, it would probably sink an institution that has helped bind Europe together for decades.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker congratulated Emmanuel Macron and wished him well for the run-off vote, according to his spokesman Margaritis Schinas.

François Fillon, a conservative former prime minister whose bid for power was badly undermined by accusations of financial misdeeds, and Benoit Hamon, the socialist candidate, were eliminated in the vote.

Opinion polls published on Sunday gave Macron a large lead for the second round.

Students immediately took to the streets in protest against Le Pen's success in the first round, the Associated Press reported Sunday. An Ipsos/Sopra Steria poll returned a similar result. The euro rose 2 percent to $1.09 when markets opened in Asia before slipping back to around $1.08, reaching what was the euro's highest level since last November, the day after the results of the United States presidential election.

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