The French president has been late to the campaign trail – busy being a statesman and dealing with the war in Ukraine.
Emmanuel Macron’s diplomatic efforts with Vladimir Putin certainly gave him a boost in the polls. But, while still ahead, his lead has closed in recent weeks and it’s now a very tight race.
By contrast, his biggest rival, Marine Le Pen, has praised the Russian president in the past and received party loans from a Russian bank.
While she’s sought to distance herself from those Russian connections during the course of this campaign, they don’t appear to have dented her support among French voters.
On the last day of campaigning before voters go to the ballot boxes, a poll had Ms Le Pen just two points behind Mr Macron.
If the polls prove right, she will face Mr Macron in the second round run off on 24 April to be France’s next president.
When Mr Macron launched his own political movement in 2016, he promised a new kind of politics. But as he fights to win a second term in office, it’s the far right threatening him once again.
Could Ms Le Pen really be France’s next president? It’s unlikely but not impossible.
There’s an apathy in France when it comes to politics and low voter turnout could fuel a surprise result.
One political analyst who studies the far right, says it’s no temporary phenomenon in France.
“The far right has been around for nearly 50 years”, said Jean Yves Camus, senior fellow at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR).
“Most said over the course of years it would disappear. It did not. And it did not for two reasons. The first is that the French are very pessimistic. We are probably the most pessimistic people in the EU.
“So when a politician, whether it be Le Pen or Zemmour, say you have to take your country back into your hands otherwise we will disappear, it strikes a chord,” he added.
Eric Zemmour is Ms Le Pen’s rival on the far right and also a candidate in Sunday’s first round of voting.
Many credit Mr Zemmour’s extreme views with helping Ms Le Pen in this election – making her appear moderate and more appealing to voters.
“The second point is, you must remember we have been the targets of so many terrorist attacks, especially since 2015, that some French people have a much more confrontational approach to Muslims and Islam than they used to have,” said Mr Camus.
Ms Le Pen’s anti-immigration policies have played into the concerns of many French voters – but they’ve also fuelled accusations of Islamophobia and racism that stoke a fear among others in France over her rise in popularity.
This time, Ms Le Pen’s has played a smart campaign focusing on the cost of living for people which is a top concern for French voters. With high inflation and record prices at the pump, there’s an expectation the “yellow vest” protests could return.
By contrast, for large parts of the electorate, Mr Macron appears elitist and out of touch.
There’s a perception among some that under his presidency the rich have got richer and the poor feel poorer.
Victory isn’t a certainty for Mr Macron who’s warned his supporters – don’t believe the far right can’t win.
We’ll begin to get a sense of that as results come in on Sunday night.