Europe

France election: Far-left Melenchon enjoys late poll surge

Supporters of French hard-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon gather in Marseille's Old Port, southern France, to attend a campaign rally, Sunday, April 9, 2017. The two-round presidential election is set for April 23 and May 7. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Supporters of French hard-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon gather in Marseille's Old Port, southern France, to attend a campaign rally, Sunday, April 9, 2017. The two-round presidential election is set for April 23 and May 7. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)  (The Associated Press)

With a bleed-the-rich video game and anti-EU rhetoric, French far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is rattling financial markets by swelling in polls just 11 days before the presidential vote.

Melenchon's surge is the latest surprise in a roller-coaster campaign that's being closely watched around Europe, and in which anti-establishment populism has played a starring role.

Most polling agencies still show that centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen are leading ahead of the April 23 first round and advance to the May 7 runoff. But Melenchon has risen in recent weeks to roughly third place, around even with conservative Francois Fillon.

Melenchon's sharp-tongued wit during the two presidential debates have boosted his standing. He promises to heavily tax the rich and pull France out of NATO and trade pacts.