Macron, Le Pen fire up French election race

With Trump's US election victory raising alerts over the rise of populism, France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen unveils her presidential campaign headquarters. Economy minister Emmanuel Macron launching a bid that could disrupt campaigns.

PARIS (Reuters) - Aiming for France's centrist vote, Emmanuel Macron confirming on Wednesday (Nov 16) he'll stand for president.

The popular former investment banker expected to nab support from mainstream candidates in an already tight race.

He'll run as an independent, despite being economy minister in President Francois Hollande's socialist government until earlier this year.

Reuters senior correspondent John Irish is in Paris. He said, "He's economically quite liberal, which will appeal in particular to the young I think, with high unemployment in that field. So he's going to eat into both the left and the right, but at the moment I think there's a general feeling that the maximum he could get would be about 20 percent, which could get him into the second round."

Far right candidate Marine Le Pen unveiled her election logo on Wednesday.

Opinion polls predict she could fare well in the first round of next year's election.

She's unlikely to get further than that, but Donald Trump's shock win in the United States has lent an air of uncertainty and could boost populists and outsiders.

"This is because people are angry, they observe that they not getting what they consider to be a fair crack of the whip. Living standards have not improved at a level that they would consider acceptable, and indeed in a vast range of economies, living standards have been slipping since the global financial crisis," said chief investment officer or CCLA Investment Management James Bevan. 

The poll favorite remains Alain Juppe.

The conservative former prime minister will fight it out for the centre right nomination in the republican party primary on Sunday.

But on Wednesday he struggled to galvanise voters even in the town where he's been mayor for 20 years.

Juppe was once a safe bet but after Trump it seems bets are off.