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French right could benefit from high numbers of undecided voters, and it's not just the candidate you might think

Key Points
  • One analyst at Standard Chartered argues that right wing Republican candidate Francois Fillon could do unexpectedly well in Sunday's French presidential election first round
  • Voters for right of center hopefuls Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen are considered most likely to turn up at the polls
  • Centrist En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron could have trouble pushing through reforms due to a lack of parliamentary support should he become president
French presidential candidate Francois Fillon takes part in a political television show entitled '15mn to convince' in Paris, France, on April 20, 2017.
Martin Bureau | AFP | Getty Images

With roughly thirty percent of the French electorate unsure as to who they will vote for in Sunday's first round of the presidential election, ambivalence and indecision could bring about an unexpected result.

Two candidates are known for having the most "sticky" voter base, Philippe Dauba-Pantanacce, global geopolitical analyst at Standard Chartered, explained on CNBC's Squawk Box Friday.

"Le Pen's voter, whatever happens, even if there's a blizzard, they're going to come out and vote," Dauba-Pantanacce said. "But Fillon voters too," he added. "So if you have a lower turnout … it might be Fillon and Le Pen that actually come out (on top.)"

Biggest electoral group in French election are those undecided: Analyst

Philippe Dauba-Pantanacce's latter point may seem counter-intuitive considering that political conservative Fillon's campaign has been dogged by scandal, causing his initially favorable polling to plummet. Allegations surfaced in March that Fillon paid his wife public money for work she did not do. Both Francois and Penelope Fillon have been placed under formal investigation. The right wing candidate is currently polling at 19 percent – in joint third place with leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon – according to the FT's aggregated poll tracker.

"If there's maybe one surprise that could upset the polls today, my gut feeling is that it could be coming from Fillon," Dauba-Pantanacce said.

He also argued that as far as the second round run-off goes, "It's very clear that the polls show that Fillon would have more difficulties to beat Le Pen than Macron, typically. But Fillon I'm very confident would still beat Le Pen, for sure."

Dauba-Pantanacce described the most expected outcome of Sunday's vote, centrist En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron against Le Pen, as "the most reassuring for all market participants."

France needs to distinguish between being euro-sceptic and euro-phobic: Analyst

But in practical terms, Macron is unlikely to be able to make legislative changes due to his totally new party's lack of parliamentary seats. If Macron wins the presidency, eyes will turn to parliamentary elections in June which could give him the majority needed to make changes.

Should Macron emerge as president of the Fifth Republic, Dauba-Pantanacce said that, "We can expect an explosion of the Socialist party as we've known it … part of the Socialist party will gather around him." Socialist former Prime Minister Manuel Valls caused upset in March by publicly announcing that he would back Macron over his party's own candidate Benoit Hamon.

Dauba-Pantanacce also alluded to how Macron can make changes without parliamentary approval, using an existing law which enables decrees to be passed without parliamentary debate.

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