Financial programs were front and center of the campaign.

After a whirlwind of last-minute campaigns, President Emmanuel Macron and his challenger, Marine Le Pen, faced a departure Sunday that largely dependent on the perception of the economy.

Concerns about increased economic insecurity and rising living costs amid the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine had become top issues in the race.

Mrs Le Pen won by a comfortable margin in the first round of voting in places that have lost jobs due to deindustrialisation, where she has found a clear audience for her promises to strengthen purchasing power, create employment through “intelligent” protectionism and shield France from European policies that extended globalization.

Workers in restless blue-collar bastions can still prove a responsibility to Mr Macron. Despite a robust recovery in France following Covid lockdowns – the economy is now growing by around 7 per cent and unemployment has fallen to a 10-year low of 7.4 per cent – many feel that inequality has increased, rather than narrowed, as he promised, for five years since Mr Macron took office.

Both candidates struggled to lure the undecided and voters who attracted their opponents, largely by reworking large planks of their economic programs to appeal to those who struggled to succeed.

Pensions are an example of this. A crucial element of Mr Macron’s economic platform would have raised the retirement age to 65 from 62 to fund France’s national pension system, an idea that has been extremely unpopular, prompting him to say he was open to discussing a easing of the plan.

Ms. Le Pen accused Mr. Macron for engaging in a policy of “social wreckage” and for blowing with the wind to capture votes, though she has also shifted gears after the protectionist economic platform she put forward five years ago, scared companies. She dropped plans to withdraw from the EU and the eurozone.

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