Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen took the two top spots in the first round of voting on Sunday (April 23).
"The first round of the French elections was unremarkable in one sense: the result came in very close to the indications from the opinion polls", said Steven Bell, chief economist at BMO Global Asset Management.
Marine Le Pen kicked out her father from the party in 2015 following his conviction for inciting racial hatred against Jews.
Socialist candidate Mr Hamon never managed to gather any real momentum in his campaign and ended up in the fifth spot - a position which emphasised the disarray of the French Left after five years of unpopular rule by Mr Hollande.
This election is widely seen as a litmus test for the populist wave, which a year ago prompted the United Kingdom to vote to leave the European Union and led to Donald Trump being elected U.S. president. Large sections of the French political spectrum, from the conservatives to the leftists, then rallied behind Mr. Chirac to defeat the far-right, Holocaust-denying Mr. Le Pen. Still, Ms. Le Pen's chances can not be ruled out.
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The euro slipped 0.1 percent to $1.0860, off Monday's peak of around $1.0940, its highest level since November 10, after centrist Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the French presidential elections.
With both establishment parties knocked out of the race after Sunday's first round, anti-euro Le Pen and independent Macron have two weeks to secure a majority in the May 7 runoff.
So it was important for many of them to come out and vote against Le Pen.
Emmanuel Macron gained most support from more westerly areas, and he also fared well in parts of Paris.
"That was disdainful towards the French people", Mr Phillipot said.
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While their policies on higher education are unlikely to be the decisive factor in swaying the electorate, they are nonetheless - as I explore in a feature this week - revealing of the candidates' wider attitudes.
Speaking after last week's terror attack in France, US President Donald Trump said she was "strongest on borders, and she's the strongest on what's been going on in France".
The Interior Ministry announced that the turnout had reached 69.4 percent three hours before the polls closed, compared with 70.6 percent in the first round of presidential voting in 2012. Will "respectable" right-wingers and reactionaries find Marine Le Pen too "vulgar" to vote for? The communist-backed candidate, who made a late surge in opinion polls, finished in fourth place. With a female candidate, could misogyny play the same kind of role as many feel it did in the American presidential election?
The European Union's head office has thrown its weight behind Macron in the French presidential runoff against Le Pen, arguing it is a choice between the defense of the EU or those seeking its destruction.
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