French election: Le Pen, Macron will face off

French election: Le Pen, Macron will face off
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Marine Le Pen of France’s far-right National Front Party and center-left candidate Emmanuel Macron are expected to move on to the runoff election next month, according to early result projections reported Sunday by The Associated Press.

Le Pen and Macron are currently ahead with nearly 90 percent of the vote tallied, NPR reported that Macron had about 24 percent of the vote,  with Le Pen at around 22 percent.

Benoît Hamon of the Socialist Party conceded Sunday evening local time, as he was in fifth place. Francois Fillon of the Republican party also conceded, according to France24, and asked his supporters to back Macron in the May 7 runoff.
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French President Francois Hollande reportedly congratulated Macron on reaching the runoff, according to AFP. 

Le Pen has claimed victory, the AP said, and promised the National Front party would represent "the great alternative" to the French people.  

"The French people must seize this opportunity, because the enormous challenge of this election is the wild globalization that puts our civilization at risk," Le Pen said, according to CNN
 
"Either we continue to disintegrate without any borders, without any controls, unfair international competition, mass immigration and the free circulation of terrorists, or you choose France with borders," she added.
 
Macron, according to CNN, told a rally in Paris that he would carry "the voice of hope that we want for our country and for Europe," into the next part of the election. 
 
"The two political parties that have governed France for years have been discarded," he said.
 
"You have shown that the hope of our country was not a dream but a relentless and benevolent will."
 
Protesters were turning out in Paris to demonstrate against the results favoring Le Pen. 

The French election, which included a crowded field of 11 candidates in Sunday's first round, is being watched closely. It's considered to be a test of the populist wave that has swept across Europe since the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union last summer.

Le Pen, a right-wing populist whose campaign includes a hardline stance on immigration and promises to partially pull back from the NATO alliance, could spawn France’s own referendum on leaving the EU should she win in next month’s runoff. Comparisons are often drawn between her political style and that of President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE.

Trump, similarly to Le Pen, railed against NATO during his own presidential campaign, but has since said he is committed to the success of the military alliance.

While the White House has not endorsed a candidate in the French election, Trump has praised Le Pen for her stance on border security and said that last week's deadly terrorist attack in Paris would "probably help" her candidacy. 

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaForget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Obama shares summer reading list MORE has suggested his own favorite, calling Macron last week to wish him "all the best." A spokesperson for Obama, however, said he is not making a formal endorsement.

Macron, who served as the economy minister to current French President François Hollande, supports remaining in the EU.

According to Bloomberg Markets, the euro jumped against the dollar with the early results. 

Updated 8:48 p.m.