April 11, 2017 / 3:59 PM / 5 months ago

Betfair slashes Melenchon's French election odds from 979/1 to 11/1

LONDON (Reuters) - British bookmaker Betfair (PPB.I) has slashed the odds on French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon winning next month’s election to 11/1 from 979/1 last month, the company said on Tuesday, as the far-left candidate surges in the polls.

That reflects a shift in the probability of Melenchon becoming president to around 12 percent from 0.1 percent previously.

A new poll on Tuesday showed Melenchon nipping at the heels of frontrunners Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron in France’s presidential race, building on his recent surge as sniping between the top contenders gathered pace.

“If Melenchon continues to gain ground and Macron continues losing it with Le Pen holding hers, this presidential race could potentially become a far-right versus far-left battle in the second round,” said Naomi Totten, spokeswoman for Betfair.

Betfair is offering odds of 5/6 that the centrist Macron will become president, implying a 54 percent chance, down from 65 percent before Melenchon’s surge in the polls.

Reporting by Jemima Kelly, editing by Nigel Stephenson

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