French election: Economist who forecast Donald Trump victory predicts Marine Le Pen will win

A French economist who correctly forecast Donald Trump’s US election win has predicted Marine Le Pen will sweep to victory in France’s presidential race. 

Charles Gave said the number of voters yet to make up their minds – estimated at 40 per cent – was bad news for current frontrunner centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, and could see the Front National leader emerge victorious. 

Mr Gave believes only scandal-hit Francois Fillon, who is currently polling in third place, could see off Ms Le Pen in the second round run-off on 7 May. 

“Le Pen’s momentum is a slow-moving reaction against the men of Davos – as we have seen with Brexit and Trump – but markets don’t want to believe it,” he told Bloomberg​ ahead of the first round of voting on 23 April. 

Mr Gave, who heads asset-allocation consultancy GaveKal Research, is advising clients to prepare for a Le Pen presidency. 

He believes at least half of both the far-left and centre-right would rather abstain than vote for Mr Macron in the second round.

He also thinks supporters of Mr Fillon, along with a number of Mr Macron’s followers, could rally for a Le Pen win if she is faced with Jean-Luc Melenchon in the second round. 

The prediction is one of many theories in a race that has been repeatedly labelled too close to call.

There has been speculation that the Champs-Elysees terror attack, which left one police officer dead and two officers injured in Paris on Thursday, could boost the chances of either a Le Pen or a Fillon presidency.  

Both candidates declared “war against Islamism”, sparking widespread condemnation that they were attempting to solicit political gain from the attack. 

The two candidates, along with Mr Macron, cancelled planned events on Friday, which would have been the last day of campaigning.

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