Published: Tue, April 25, 2017
Business | By Jorge Reeves

France's Le Pen resigns from party leadership to focus on presidential bid

Philippot called Macron "arrogant" and said his victory speech on Sunday had shown disdain for the French people by making it appear as though the presidency was already won. And yesterday, he picked up 4.7 per cent of the vote - compared to 1.8 per cent in 2012. Since taking the reins of the FN in 2011 from her father (who she later booted out for describing Nazi gas chambers as "a detail of history"), Le Pen has been determined to rebrand the party.

Le Pen, 48, known for her anti-immigration rhetoric, has vowed to take France out of EU.

But even without having progressed to the final round, Dupont-Aignan still wields power.

Analysts said Le Pen might find more support amid right-wing voters anxious by security issues and Europe's open borders, who backed either conservative Francois Fillon or nationalist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan in the first round and might balk at backing Macron, a moderate centrist. His campaign are calling him the "king-maker", which may be pushing the truth somewhat.

Hollande on Monday urged voters to reject Le Pen, warning of the "risk for our country" of a far-right victory and said he himself would vote for Macron, who served as his economy minister for two years.

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Macron's leading 23.9 percent of the vote represents "quite a fundamental realignment of politics in France, and maybe more broadly in Europe", Huw Pill, chief European economist at Goldman Sachs, told CNBC's Squawk Box Monday.

Mr. Macron, who campaigned on a pro-Europe political platform with promises of economic reforms and better governance, won 23.75% of the vote, while Ms. Le Pen, who during the campaign repeatedly attacked the European Union, globalisation and France's immigration policies to drum up support, came second, polling 21.53%.

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.

Jugele's civil partner will also speak, and both presidential candidates have said they will be present.

If the numbers hold up as expected, it will set up a battle in May between two politicians with not only completely different visions for France but - more significantly - utterly different views of one of the biggest issues facing many voters in the West today: globalization. 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. She also wants to follow Britain's lead and take France out of the European Union.

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Merkel wished Macron "all the best for the next two weeks".

Polls suggest and many analysts predict that Macron enjoys a steep advantage going into a head-to-head race with Le Pen.

"She's been in the political system for 30 years", he said. Another 300 protesters gathered at Place de la Republique to protest the results.

According to The Telegraph, shortly after the results were announced, protesters arrived to the square waving red flags shouting "No Marine and No Macron" among other chants.

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