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Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the French presidential election would have been one to watch closely, given the implications for Europe and the liberal order that was ushered in by the end of World War 2. 

It has been under strain in recent years and has been shaken by the rise of extremist parties, which in some countries have seen far-right parties tasting power as part of coalitions. Then there was the UK voting to leave the EU in 2016 and Donald Trump winning the US presidency the same year...

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