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Marine Le Pen has extended her lead in a poll of first round French voting intentions, which shows a sharp drop in support for her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron in the last week.
A poll conducted by Elabe for French broadcaster BFMTV today showed at least a 1.5 point swing towards the far-right Front National leader who is vowing to hold a referendum on France’s membership of the eurozone.
The eurosceptic Ms Le Pen has around 27-28 per cent of the popular vote according to the poll which varies on whether or not centrist candidate Francois Bayrou will take part in the election race in less than three months’ time.
Mr Macron, the country’s former economy minister who is running on a pro-business, pro-EU ticket, dropped five points in the first round voting intentions compared to the same poll conducted on February 7. Mr Macron has fallen into third place behind right-wing candidate Francois Fillon.
Despite being engulfed in an embezzlement scandal this month, Mr Fillon gained 3 points to 20 per cent.
More worryingly for investors, Ms Le Pen has also made ground in the second round voting intentions, narrowing the gap on her rivals. The polls suggests she would lose out to Mr Macron by 59 per cent to 41 per cent – a 4 point gain in her favour (see below).
The Elabe poll chimes with a separate survey out earlier this week showing a steady rise in support for Ms Le Pen. Her insurgency has helped push the premium investors are demanding to hold French bonds to fresh post-eurozone crisis high this week.
Ms Le Pen’s plans for a “Frexit” would cost the economy €30bn a year in surging debt costs, according to the country’s central bank chief and would constitute one of the biggest sovereign defaults in history, say major rating agencies.
Bond investors have fled French debt on the back of Ms Le Pen’s euro exit plans, which would mark the biggest existential threat to the EU’s established order in 60 years. France is one of the EU’s founding member states.
Images via BFMTV