A poll on Tuesday showed centrist Emmanuel Macron would trounce far-right leader Marine Le Pen should the pair face each other in a run-off for the French Presidency, as the main candidates presented their economic programmes to business leaders. Ivor Bennett reports
Not every campaign stop is full of adoring supporters. But in front of France's business community, Emmanuel Macron was always going to fare better than his rivals. Especially, once he said this... (SOUNDBITE) (French) CENTRIST PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE EMMANUEL MACRON OF EN MARCHE! (ONWARDS!) PARTY, SAYING: "I deeply believe that, you have mentioned the United States, Donald Trump will not be able to implement the programme that he gave. Why? Because while it could seduce the American middle class, it's a programme that is not good for the United States, nor for the working class." Macron's denunciation of protectionism will be music to markets' ears Wary of the anti-EU, anti-euro rhetoric of his rival Marine Le Pen. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "Frankly, a Le Pen victory and implementation of her policies could see European equities decline by about 25 per cent." Le Pen sought to allay those fears by setting out her own economic agenda in front of the same crowd. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FAR-RIGHT CANDIDATE MARINE LE PEN OF NATIONAL FRONT, MARINE LE PEN, SAYING: "Bringing back national currencies would allow the money of each country in Europe to re-establish their real value and that is what would happen. Would that lead to a devaluation of the new franc? Most probably not." But it's not just business that needs convincing. An IPSOS poll on Tuesday showed a comprehensive win for Macron in a run-off against Le Pen. Both helped in part by the other woman in this race. Penelope Fillon, wife of Republican candidate Francois, today facing questions by magistrates in a long-running corruption scandal. Allegations she was paid by her husband for a job she never did has seen him tumble from first to third. This latest poll giving him 18 percent of the first round vote, and with it, elimination.