A stark choice: On French presidential polls

Centrist Emmanuel Macron topped the voting, going through to the final round with far-right Marine Le Pen.

She follows in the footsteps of her father Jean-Marie, who made it through to the 2002 presidential run-off in what was a political natural disaster for France.

Her canvassing at a market in the unemployment-ridden small town of Rouvroy, in northern France, on Monday morning, saying the run-off would be a referendum against globalisation and slamming the "rotten" alliance of mainstream politicians against her, set the tone. 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.

The final days of the presidential campaign were upended by an attack claimed by the Islamic State group that killed a police officer on Paris' Champs-Elysees, feeding into one of Le Pen's central themes. "Her supporters won't mind much because they want her to amass support among other voters, from far-left to the right". "We saw that last night and it will be at the heart of the campaign between the two rounds". Le Pen's anti-establishment, anti-globalisation chord could resonate with some of his voters.

A 39-year-old former investment banker who has never stood for public office before, Macron is expected to beat Le Pen in the run-off election by a margin of around 20 points.

They could hardly be more different: Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron is facing anti-immigration, anti-EU Marine Le Pen in France's presidential runoff May 7. French voters shut out the country's political mainstream from the presidency for the first time in the country's modern history, and on Monday found themselves being courted across the spectrum for the runoff election.

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She didn't mention him at all in remarks to the crowd at her runoff celebration Monday night. "I say bring it on", she said. Yet, falling short also highlights the party's lingering power deficit in Washington and around the country.

Support for Le Pen may be waning as none of the rival parties has called on its voters to support the far-right party with its anti-EU stance.

An insider in Le Pen's camp said she may be standing down to run on her own ticket, so she can not be tarred with the past of her far-right party.

She told Al Jazeera she does not support Le Pen but sexism would count against her.

The accuracy of pollsters ahead of Sunday's vote bolstered confidence in their projection Macron would soundly win on May 7.

Hugo did not vote in the first round despite being a Melenchon supporter, but said he would not risk the chance of Le Pen winning the second round.

"They're preparing for afterwards, for 2022", Crepon said, referring to the next presidential election. Le Pen has written that she was "raised on honey and the acid of politics", a reference to her privileged life and the weight of her larger-than-life father.

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