Leader of the french far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen holds a press conference on March 9, 2015 in Metz, eastern France, ahead of the March 22 and 29, 2015 regional elections. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN        (Photo credit should read JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/Getty Images
Leader of the french far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen holds a press conference on March 9, 2015 in Metz, eastern France, ahead of the March 22 and 29, 2015 regional elections. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN (Photo credit should read JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
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France's President Emmanuel Macron takes part in a joint press conference with Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (not pictured) at Kirribilli House in Sydney on May 2, 2018. - Macron arrived in Australia on May 1 on a rare visit by a French president with the two sides expected to agree on greater cooperation in the Pacific to counter a rising China. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
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French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Standing behind him are Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 13:  French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes US President Donald Trump prior to a meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace on July 13, 2017 in Paris, France. As part of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States of America into World War I, US President, Donald Trump will attend tomorrow at the Bastille Day military parade.  (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)
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The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN        (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

First round of voting takes place April 23

Contest too tight to call going into final week

(CNN) —  

It has been one of the most unpredictable and dramatic presidential campaigns in French political history – and with less than a week to go before the election, the outcome remains too close to call.

Only a few weeks ago, it appeared almost guaranteed that the French electorate would vote for a face off between National Front Leader Marine Le Pen and independent candidate Emmanuel Macron.

But as Sunday’s first round of voting draws ever closer, the political whirlwind that is far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon appears to be gathering speed.

Will Le Pen ease through? Can Macron persuade voters he’s got a plan? Or will the left-wing firebrand Mélenchon cause widespread shock?

Marine Le Pen

00:43 - Source: CNN
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