On Sunday, May 7, French voters will pick a new president in a runoff election. Their choice comes down to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron. So far, the markets -- and a fiery final debate between the two candidates -- have favored Macron. But we know not to count political chickens before they hatch.
It's widely understood that a Macron win would stave off the rising tide of far-right nationalism, while a Le Pen win would feed it. It's no surprise former President Barack Obama and other liberal world leaders have thrown their weight behind Macron.
Voters in France have comprehensively snubbed the country's political establishment, sending far-right populist Marine Le Pen and political novice Emmanuel Macron through to the second round of the country's presidential election.
Newcomer Macron leads the field with 23.9% of the vote. He's a former investment banker who has never before stood for elected office and now becomes the favorite to become France's next President.
It was also a success for Le Pen, who has spent years attempting to rid the National Front of the toxic legacy of her father. "It is time to free French people from arrogant elites ... I am the people's candidate," she declared.
The result mirrored others -- such as the British vote to leave the European Union and the US election of Donald Trump -- where voters have rejected traditional elites.
Last month's first round contest was held under tight security after a terrorist attack in Paris disrupted the final day of campaigning.
With 11 names on the ballot, no single candidate had been expected to win an outright majority; instead the top two candidates will face a second and final ballot on May 7. The incumbent President, socialist François Hollande, whose approval ratings have remained in the doldrums for several years, made the unusual decision not to run for a second term.