After not making it past the first round of the French presidential elections, Jean Luc Melenchon unlike other losing candidates, decided not directly to support Emmanuel Macron in the second round. Instead, he launched a ballot vote amongst his supporters from the Rebellious France (La France insoumise) movement, to decide whether to cast a blank vote, abstain altogether from the elections or vote for Macron in the second round.

Since Thursday, students and youth in Paris, Rennes, Nantes, Toulouse and other cities across France have held rallies and marched through the city streets. The protests were against the right wing nationalist Marine Le Pen and the liberal Emmanuel Macron who are facing off in the in the second round of the presidential election.

The results of the first round of the presidential election open a new phase of the political crisis in France. As in April 2002, the second round will be between the right and the far right. But much has changed since then. The economic crisis of 2008 has taken place. The probable victory of Emmanuel Macron, in two weeks time, will not lead to the relative political stability that Chirac benefited from in the wake of his victory in May 2002.

After months of turbulent campaigning, the drama of the first round of the French presidential election has come to a close, with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen left to face each other for the second round.

The last three weeks have seen a quick progression of the candidate of Rebellious France in the polls for the presidential election: from being fifth with around 11% to being third with over 18% now. This rapid rise has been accompanied with a slow but steady decrease in the voting intentions for the two candidates at the top, the far right Le Pen (from a peak of 28% down to 24) and the liberal Thatcherite Macron (from a peak of 26% down to 23).

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