The first round of the French presidential election produced a clear winner. And it wasn’t the man who came first.
Uncertainty in Holland and France has rocked the DOW Jones and the FTSE
One can argue about the value of polls, but there is no doubt they give us some interesting insights into the political story of the moment
Francois Hollande is to be inaugurated as the new President of France following his second round election victory over Nicolas Sarkozy today.
Hollande will become France's first Socialist president in nearly two decades.
Asian stock markets were pummelled Monday by weekend election results in Greece and France that heightened uncertainty about Europe's ability to solve its debt crisis.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index plunged 2.6% to 9,134.26
Supporters of the French presidential candidate Francois Hollande gathered at a rally in Toulouse in southern France today.
The Socialist party leader is ahead of Nicolas Sarkozy in opinion polls by six to 10 points. Both leaders are battling for votes ahead of Sunday's decisive runoff election.
The French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has addressed a rally in Paris. She told her voters to make their own choice in the May 6th presidential election runoff. The two leading candidates - Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande - have been competing for the votes of her supporters.
Supporters of Marine Le Pen's National front party are rallying in the streets of Paris.
The far-right party picked up 18% of votes in the first round of France's general election.
Whilst not enough to give Le Pen a serious chance of the winning the election, it has bestowed "kingmaker" status on her as the two leading candidates - Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande - vie for the votes of her supporters.
Le Pen has promised to pass judgement on the second round of the election at her traditional May Day rally at the statue of Joan of Arc in Paris later today.
She is expected to call on supporters to abstain from voting rather than endorsing either of her political rivals.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has appealed directly to far right voters with pledges to get tough on immigration and security, after the National Front's record showing in a first round election made them potential kingmakers.
Mr Sarkozy told reporters outside his campaign headquarters: " National Front voters must be respected. They voiced their view. It was a vote of suffering, a crisis vote. Why insult them?"
The frontrunner in the French presidential elections Francois Hollande has slammed President Nicolas Sarkozy at a campaign rally in Quimper, western France.
Mr Hollande told supporters: "The outgoing candidate, he always succeeds in convincing himself, through others. It reassures him. He does it by himself. And yesterday, he tried to make out what was a failure, to be a success.
"He was happy. He is like that. He also thinks his term was a success. More than 73 percent of the French think the opposite. But he continues to think that he must go on."