Emmanuel Macron looks set to win a decisive victory over his far right rival Marine Le Pen in France's bitterly-contested presidential election runoff, according to early voter projections published Sunday.
Macron has won an estimated 65.5% of the vote based on early counts from selected constituencies, compared to just 34.5% for former Front National leader Le Pen. The margin of victory appears to be the second-largest in the runoff round in more than 50 years,behind only the landslide win of former President Jacques Chirac -- coincidentally over Le Pen's father, Jean Marie -- in 2002.
However, the figures followed earlier estimates on voter turnout from France's Interior Ministry which indicated a notably lower rate of participation by French voters than in both the first round two weeks ago and the last slate of presidential elections in 2012.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was one of the first to offer early congratulations via his verified social media account, saying he was happy the French had chosen a "European future" and that he looked forward to working to make the region stronger and fairer.
U.S. President Donald Trump also took to Twitter to offer his congratulations to Macron - despite having offered a near-endorsement of Le Pen prior to the first round of voting.
If the projections hold -- and a similar method used in the first round of voting on April 23 proved to be extremely reliable -- there will likely be huge relief for bond and currency traders heading into the overnight session in Asia.
Last week, the euro rose to six-month high of 1.0998 against the U.S. dollar after polls showed Macron -- a centrist and pro-European -- holding a commanding lead into the final day of campaigning.
There was concern, however, that some of that support could have been affected by an extraordinary development late Friday evening, when the Wikileaks organisation shared Tweets of what it claimed to be details of a hack of thousands of pages of email correspondence from the Macron campaign.
With a ban on electoral publication in place, as is traditionally the case in the final day before European elections, major media outlets were unable to post details of the leak, or indeed discuss or allude to their contents for fear of prosecution from French authorities.
Macron's campaign confirmed the security breach shortly afterwards and said that fake documents had been inserted among genuine campaign material in order to spread what it called "misinformation."