French Election and the Potential Impact on Global Markets

Europe FOXBusiness

French voters prepare their ballot in the voting booth during the first round of the French presidential election, in Paris, Sunday April 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) (AP)

If French presidential front-runner Marine Le Pen – labeled “France’s Trump” – wins the first round of the country’s elections Sunday, global markets will be impacted, according to Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation.

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“Certainly that will hit the markets hard, I think, in France and across Europe—possibly here in the United States as well,” Gardiner told Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

 “I think the markets would react if there was a suggestion that France could possibly leave the European Union,” he said.

As polls in France near closing time, all eyes are focusing in on who will win the first round of the country’s presidential election.

The two front-runners in the presidential campaign are Le Pen of the National Front party and Emmanuel Macron, who is running as an independent candidate. Among the top issues of the French election are terrorism and the security of the country’s borders.

“There’ll be a slight boost for Le Pen at the polls, I think, following the terrorist attack in France earlier this week,” said Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation.

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Le Pen is running on a platform of tighter border control and, like one of her opponents, François Fillon, an anti-Islamist platform, as well.

Though Gardiner thinks Le Pen has the better chance to win the first round of the election, polls show Emmanuel Macron, the former French finance minister, would emerge the victor in the second round, he said.

“I would describe him [Macron] as sort of a ‘limousine liberal,’ sort of ‘champagne socialist-type’ politician … But I think Macron really represents business as usual for France and I don’t think you’re going to see much change.”