Jean-Luc Mlenchons rise turns presidential campaign into four-horse race watched by voters in destructive mood

A dramatic seven-point surge by the wildcard leftwing veteran Jean-Luc Mlenchon appears to be holding, unexpectedly turning Frances roller-coaster presidential race into a possible four-way contest.

Barely 10 days from the first round of voting time 23 April, the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, both with 23 -2 4% of the vote, are still favourites to go through to the run-off round.

But Mlenchon, an acid-tongued political showman with a radical tax-and-spend platform, is now simply five or six points behind. Some recent polls have placed him third, ahead of the scandal-hit centre-right nominee, Franois Fillon.

Mlenchons rise means that with up to a third of voters undecided , no two opinion poll solely alike and margins of error be held accountable for, it is impossible to say with certainty who of the front four will go head-to-head in the second round.

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