French election results: Emmanuel Macron wins, polls suggest


Paris
CNN

Emmanuel Macron will win France’s presidential election, poll projects, and avert a historic challenge from right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen during Sunday’s re-election.

Macron is expected to take 58.5% of the vote, according to an analysis of voting data conducted by the Ipsos & Sopra Steria polls conducted for France Televisions and Radio, making him the first French leader to be re-elected in 20 years. However, turnout was on track to be the lowest for a presidential election since 2002, according to government data released in the late afternoon local time. Ipsos & Sopra Steria expected a 28.2% turnout to vote for the second round, which is also the highest since 2002.

French pollsters typically publish projections at 8pm local time when polling stations close in major cities and several hours before the French Interior Ministry announces official results. These projections, which are based on data from polling stations closing at 19.00 in the rest of the country, is usually used by the candidates and French media to declare a winner.

Although Macron’s message to voters in a globalized, economically liberal France at the head of a muscular EU won over Le Pen’s vision of a radical inward shift, 41.5% of the people who voted for her brought the far right closer to the presidency. . than ever before.

Macron’s supporters, gathered on the Champs de Mars in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in central Paris, erupted in massive cheers when the news was announced.

Within half an hour, Le Pen gave a concession speech to his backers gathered nearby at a pavilion in western Paris’ Bois de Boulogne.

“A great wind of freedom might have blown over our country, but the ballot box decided otherwise,” Le Pen said.

Yet Le Pen acknowledged that the far right had never performed so well in a presidential election. She called the result “historic” and a “glorious victory” that put her political party, the National Rally, “in an excellent position” for the June parliamentary elections.

“The game is not quite over,” she said.

Macron and Le Pen advanced to second place after finishing in first and second place respectively among 12 candidates who lined up in the first round on April 10th. They spent the next two weeks cross-country to woo those who did not vote for them in the first round.

The line-up in the second round was a repeat of the 2017 presidential election, when Macron – then a political newcomer – disappeared Le Pen by almost two votes to one. This time, however, Macron had to run on a mixed record in domestic issues, such as his handling of the protests against yellow vests and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Macron-Le Pen revenge was expected to be closer than the first match five years ago. An opinion poll released after the vote in the first round showed that this settlement could be as close as 51% to 49%. When the campaign ended on Friday, most polls put the two candidates about 10 points apart.

Le Pen’s ability to attract new voters since 2017 is the latest indication that the French public is turning to extremist politicians to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. In the first round, the far left and right candidates accounted for more than 57% of the ballot papers cast, while 26.3% of registered voters stayed at home – resulting in the lowest turnout in 20 years.

Le Pen’s campaign sought to exploit public anger over a squeezed cost of living by campaigning hard to help people cope with inflation and rising energy prices – a major concern for French voters – instead of relying on the anti-Islamist, anti-Islamist – immigration and Eurosceptic positions that dominated her first two attempts to win the presidency in 2017 and 2012.

She presented herself as a more mainstream and less radical candidate, although much of her manifesto remained the same as five years ago. “Stopping uncontrolled immigration” and “eradicating Islamist ideologies” were her manifesto’s two priorities, and analysts said many of her policies on the EU would have put France at odds with the bloc.

Although Le Pen had given up some of her most controversial political proposals, such as leaving the EU and the euro, her views on immigration and her stance on Islam in France – she wants to make it illegal for women to wear headscarves in public – did not change that.

“I think the headscarf is a uniform imposed by the Islamists,” she said during the only presidential debate on Wednesday. “I think the vast majority of the women who wear such a thing can do nothing else in reality, even if they dare not say so.”

French right-wing extremist candidate Marine Le Pen will vote in Henin-Beaumont in northern France on Sunday.

But Vladimir Putin was perhaps her greatest political responsibility. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Le Pen was a vocal supporter of the Russian president and even visited him during her campaign in 2017. Her party also took out a loan from a Russian Czech bank several years ago, which it is still repaying.

Although she has since condemned Moscow’s invasion, Macron Le Pen attacked her earlier views during the debate. He claimed she could not be trusted to represent France when dealing with the Kremlin.

“You talk to your banker when you talk to Russia. That’s the problem,” Macron said during the debate. “You cannot defend France’s interests properly on this issue because your interests are linked to people close to Russian power.”

Le Pen said her party was forced to seek funding abroad because no French bank would approve the loan request, but the defense apparently did not resonate.

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