Marine Le Pen has dominated the headlines throughout the French presidential campaign, but another candidate is knocking her from the headlines: Jean-Luc Melenchon.
The communist Melenchon's polling numbers have skyrocketed over the past month, giving far-right Le Pen, conservative Francois Fillon and centrist Emmanuel Macron a run for their money.
It's not only France's future that's at stake, but possibly the European Union's. Both Melenchon and Le Pen have indicated they are willing to take the country out of the political-economic partnership.
A French abandonment of the EU would essentially mean the bloc losing its second- and third-biggest economies at the ballot box in less than a year. Germany is the EU's largest economy; the United Kingdom is the second-largest and it's already leaving the EU.
"This election is unusual. Usually, we have two candidates who are pro-European and no extreme parties," Philippe Ithurbide, global head of research, strategy and analysis at French asset manager Amundi, said in a media call Thursday.