Macron seen as beating Le Pen in French presidential runoff - Figaro/LCI poll

Macron seen as beating Le Pen in French presidential runoff - Figaro/LCI poll

Macron seen as beating Le Pen in French presidential runoff - Figaro/LCI poll

Macron's strong showing follows a string of endorsements by moderate politicians, including fellow centrist candidate Francis Bayrou, who had been polling about 5% to 6% before he, last week, said he would withdraw from the presidential race.

With polls consistently placing Le Pen out in front for first round voting, the former Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned France's establishment of the "danger" of assuming she can not win, Euractiv has reported. Before these fresh investigations began, François Fillon was given 20% support according to a Kantar Sofres poll and 19% in a similar Oxoda Dentsu survey.

On Wednesday one of Ms Le Pen's aides was charged in connection with a probe into alleged misuse of European Union funds.

French government bond yields hit a one month low Monday as investors took heart from new polls showing growing support for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron ahead of the spring Presidential election.

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"But if it's 55-45, it could be a different matter", he said, adding that her performance in the first round would be crucial if she is to gain enough momentum to snatch a win in the second round.

Another poll by Figaro/LCI showed Mr Macron winning the runoff by 58 per cent to 42 per cent for Ms Le Pen.

Then, on Monday, former National Front aid Gael Nofri said that, the party tried to use a fake European Parliament contract when he was recruited to work for Le Pen's campaign team in 2012.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to meet independent French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron before the French election and the two sides are discussing dates, a German government spokesman said on Friday.

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The Odoxa poll put ruling Socialist party candidate Benoit Hamon in fourth place in the first round with 13 per cent, and hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon in fifth with 12 per cent.

Mr Fillon is suspected of paying to his wife and children for "fake jobs".

Fillon has denied the allegations or any wrongdoing, saying the jobs were real.

Critics allege that Le Pen's anti-immigration, anti-establishment campaign is a cover for a racist, anti-democratic worldview. Bosselut urged prosecutors to back off until after the election to avoid interfering with the democratic process.

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