Obama wades into French election before Sunday vote

The race will almost certainly go to a runoff.

However, “President Obama remains deeply committed” to France “as a close ally of the United States and as a leader on behalf of liberal values in Europe and around the world,” Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said.

The French will go to the polls on Sunday for a first-round vote that could be as consequential as the U.K.’s Brexit vote and the election of President Donald Trump.

Lewis said that Obama would not be “making any formal endorsement” before the vote.

A spokesperson for Macron confirmed the call, saying, “Obama talked about his strong links with France and the importance of the ties between the two countries.”

“They also discussed about the future of Europe and the progressive values that they both share,” Macron’s spokesperson said.

Sunday’s vote will see Macron up against 10 other candidates, some with populist, anti-establishment leanings.

Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen are widely seen as front-runners, according to European media reports, and the race is considered very competitive.

Macron, 39, is a former banker who served as his country’s economy minister until 2016.

Le Pen, 48, is a lawyer by training and took leadership of her National Front party from her father in 2011. She is currently a member of the European Parliament.

If no one among the 11 candidates wins more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two vote getters will compete in a runoff on May 7.

Analysts say a runoff vote will likely take place.

ABC News’ Arlette Saenz, Alexander Mallin, and Ben Gittleson contributed to this report. ABC News’ Paul Pradier contributed from Paris.

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