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How the international press is reporting the French election

By Christina Okello

With one week to go to the second round of the French presidential election, Christina Okello reports on how the race is being reported by foreign media.

After Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the world is watching closely to see whether the populist wave will also sweep through France.

This year's poll, by far the most unpredictable, has split France down the middle to create two different visions of society: protectionism versus internationalism, inclusive versus rejectionist.

Across the globe, the media has often fallen into the trap of endorsement of choosing one candidate over the other. And the British press is no exception.

"The Daily Mail’s coverage of the second round results was more centred on Marine Le Pen," says veteran correspondent John Lichfield.

"They talked of her almost as if she’d won the election rather than Macron who came first after all in the first round poll. But they were talking of her as the new Jeanne d’Arc, a new Joan of Arc and somehow suggesting that she was in the line of succession to Donald Trump, to the Brexit vote against the elites. And therefore someone who fitted into their own world view."

Meanwhile in Brussels, the European press has hailed Macron's victory as a foregone conclusion.

"Take the La Repubblica in Italy, they've called the outcome great news for the future of the EU," says France 24 correspondent Meabh McMahon. "They say that thanks to Macron, the EU can still be saved, they feel he will be the man to accelerate a two-speed Europe, fully endorsed by Angela Merkel."

The overwhelming favourite to win the French presidential election on 7 May came out the strongest in Wednesday's final debate against Marine Le Pen.

But the bitter exchanges between the two contenders are likely to intensify right up until the final whistle is called, and the press will have to be careful not to fall in between the fault lines.

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