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French in Montreal react to election results

"There is no other choice but to vote against the far right, I will vote for Emmanuel Macron", Fillon told supporters.

A former investment banker, Macron had served as economy minister in the government of President Francois Hollande before forming his own "Association for the renewal of politics", the official name of "En Marche" in April 2016.

Elsewhere in Europe, liberal globalists cheered Macron's strong showing.

"The main thing at stake in this election is the rampant globalization that is endangering our civilization", she added while calling herself "the candidate for the people".

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"The people of France rejected the candidates from the two major parties that ruled the country in the past 30 years", he said.

He described the vote as a milestone in France's political history.

In his victory speech, Macron, 39, sounded at times as if he'd already won the election.

French politicians on the left and right immediately urged voters to block Le Pen's path to power in the May 7 runoff, saying her virulently nationalist anti-EU and anti-immigration politics would spell disaster for France. The country has more than 45 million of registered voters in total.

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Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie, scored the first breakthrough in the French presidential elections by the National Front, winning a slot in the runoff in the 2002 ballot.

Olivier Duhamel, a political scientist at Sciences Po Paris, one of France's top universities, said the fact that someone with so little experience came out on top today was stunning.

A nuclear power with a seat on the U.N. Security Council and tens of thousands of troops around the world, France is a key US ally in the campaign against the Islamic State group and a major diplomatic player.

Speaking to his supporters in Paris at what he called an "unprecedented moment in its history", Macron said that in bringing "En Marche" to life over the past year "we have changed the face of French political life".

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"We should not underestimate the capacity of resistance of other groups within societies, which are supporting more moderate parties", said Alain Dieckhoff, head of the Center for International Research at Sciences Po. French senator and key Fillon supporter Roger Karoutchi told reporters: "The first indications are not good".



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