#Marine Le Pen is having a rough go of it so far. The French presidential candidate was always going to have a difficult time connecting with mainstream voters in France. She did a better job than expected, however, judging by early exit polls on Sunday. She trails, but Le Pen will make the second round of the election as France tries to decide the future of both their country and the European Union as an institution at the breaking point.

First round of balloting

As the midday exit polls rolled around, a surprisingly close race was being forecast. Belgian broadcaster RTBF suggested that mere percentage points separated the top candidates in the election.

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Centrist Emmanuel Macron had approximately 24 percent of the vote, while Le Pen clocked in at 22 percent. Former prime minister Francois Fillon was not far behind himself, scoring 20.5 percent of the vote in the battle for the French future.

By the time more projections came in, it became clear that Macron was going to win the first round of voting, but that Le Pen would be successful in forcing a runoff to take place in two weeks. As Macron is relatively knew and unknown on the political field, he will likely have to improve his prominence and clarify his positions to cement his chances at beating his new rival on May 7. The future of the French people will be in one of their hands, and they could each pull the country in drastically different directions, as neither hail from the political parties that have previously dominated the nation.

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Le Pen's problematic appeal

Le Pen is one of the fastest rising stars on the political battlefield in Europe. She comes from the same school of populist thought as other Western political figures, such as Donald Trump in the United States and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. Many believe her rhetoric to be racist and bigoted, though, and her promises prior to the election have backed up that sentiment.

Le Pen has vowed to block immigration - even legal immigration - as soon as she's sworn in as president. In the wake of a recent terrorist attack, she called on the country to shut down mosques nationwide. Yet her popularity soars as anti-political candidate, making comments about taking back the country from the political elite following her results on Sunday. She has also vowed to pull France out of the European Union. If the French people decide she is their leader of the future, the political systems of the continent could collapse. #Populism #EuropeanUnion