French election: Allies will hope country's masters find way to work together and save it from chaos

The centre of Paris has erupted into a street party of left-wing euphoria.

"In the left, we rarely can be happy about what is happening right now," Anne Cecile Cochet told Sky News, adding: "It's a huge surprise, nobody thought it would be like that."

A surge of relief across the capital will propel celebrations into the early hours if final results confirm the exit polls.

And that relief won't be contained to France.

'Absolute shock' in French election - follow latest

The prospect of a far-right government seizing control here has caused deep alarm across the West.

Financial markets threatened to plummet under a far-right victory, even if National Rally has trimmed some of its more radical plans.

And many Western partners are deeply suspicious of the party's attitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But there will remain profound misgivings about the direction of French politics all the same.

President Emmanuel Macron has dodged the far-right bullet, it seems, but now must try and rule with the left if it prevails as the biggest party in parliament as is expected.

There is no love between them, only loathing. Gridlock or a period of instability seems likely.

None of that is good news in a country as consequential as France is, in Europe, on the world stage, in the struggle with Russia, in the maintenance of a rules-based world order.

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French politics once again has confounded observers and vexed and perplexed its allies.

They'll hope that somehow the country's masters new and old will find a way to work together to save it from chaos for the sake of France and of the world.

It won't be easy. If they fail, the far-right are waiting and only getting stronger.