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French presidential election 2017: Macron or Le Pen?

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-09 18:45

French presidential election 2017: Macron or Le Pen?

Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for the French 2017 presidential election, attends the 2-day FN political rally to launch the presidential campaign in Lyon, France February 5, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS - After Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president, eyes are on France where voters will choose their next president amid public discontent and high terror alert in the European country.

Could Trump's victory serve as a boon to France's far-right candidate Marine Le Pen from the National Front?

"The impossible has suddenly become possible," Le Pen told thousands of supporters in Lyon, France's third-largest city, kicking off her campaign on Sunday.

"Other countries have shown us the way. The British have chosen Brexit and the United States has chosen their national interests," Le Pen told her followers.

However, BVA pollster analyst Erwan Lestrohan believed that Le Pen might enjoy a boost in ratings but could not win the presidency.

Providing support for Lestrohan's remarks, an Opinionway poll published on Wednesday showed that French independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron would easily beat Le Pen in the race.

An Opinionway poll for Les Echos newspaper and Radio Classique showed that in the first round of voting scheduled for April 23, Macron, a former economy minister, would get 22 percent of the vote, behind Le Pen's 25 percent. But in the decisive second round, Macron would beat Le Pen 66 percent to 34 percent, the poll showed.

Under fire over his wife's fake job, embattled conservative contender Francois Fillon, a front-runner until two weeks ago, will not be able to enter the second round.

Experts believed that the surprise that happened in the US election is not expected in France because the two electoral systems are different.

"In the United States, the presidential election has only one vote, which Donald Trump won. In France, the presidential election has two rounds. This allows the voters of non-finalist candidates to choose one of the two qualified to block the other," Lestrohan told Xinhua.

Continued terror threats and rising risks of immigration crisis give a boost to Le Pen, who embraces protectionism. However, the 49-year-old lawyer does not have a strong majority and enough solidity to win the presidential run-off, said Lestrohan.

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