Expectations show that Macron and Le Pen will lead the re-run of the French elections

  • Macron and Le Pen saw the lead in the first round
  • The date for the presidential election run-off is set for April 24
  • The battle lines drawn between skeptics of globalization and skeptics of Europe

Expectations after the first round of voting on Sunday showed that France’s current leader, Emmanuel Macron, and her far-right rival Marine Le Pen are heading to the run-off of the presidential election on April 24.

Macron took 28.1-29.5% of the vote in the first round while Le Pen won 23.3-24.4%, according to separate estimates by pollsters Ifop, OpinionWay, Elabe and Ipsos. These estimates, published as the voting period ends, are usually very reliable in France.

If this outcome is confirmed, it will create a duel between an economic liberal with a worldview in Macron and a deeply Eurosceptic economic nationalist who, until the Ukraine war, was an outspoken admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Who next takes over the Elysee will depend on how those who backed Macron and Le Pen’s rivals cast their votes.

Conservative candidate Valerie Pecresse, socialist Anne Hidalgo, Green Party’s Yannick Gadot and Communist Fabien Roussel said they would support Macron to block the far-right.

“So that France does not fall into the hatred of everyone against everyone, I solemnly invite you to vote on April 24 against the far-right of Marine Le Pen,” Hidalgo said.

Pecres warned of “serious consequences” if Macron did not win the run-off.

But another far-right candidate Eric Zeymour will call on his supporters to support Le Pen, Marion Marechal – Zeymore’s ally and Le Pen’s niece – told BFM TV.

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“We will win! We will win!” Le Pen said to the cheers of the crowd, which chanted. She wants to unite all the French. The run-off “would be the choice of civilization,” she said, adding that her program would protect the weak and make France independent.

Macron wants a rare second term

No French president has won a second term for two decades.

Barely a month ago, Macron was comfortably well on its way to the opposite, ranking high in the polls thanks to strong economic growth, a fragmented opposition and his role as a statesman in trying to avoid war on Europe’s eastern flank.

But he paid a price for his late entry into the campaign during which he avoided the market roaming of the Province of France in favor of one large march outside Paris. A plan to get people to work longer also proved unpopular, enabling Le Pen to narrow the gap in the polls.

By contrast, she has wandered for months in towns and villages across France, focusing on the cost-of-living issues that trouble millions and exploiting anger toward the political elite.

“Marine Le Pen knew how to talk to people about their concrete problems. Over the next two weeks he (Macron) will have to pay more attention to what is happening in France, and take a diplomatic break,” said 23-year-old Adrien Terry. A year old supporter.

After Macron advanced by more than 10 points in late mid-March, voter polls before the first round showed that his margin of victory in the final run-off had narrowed to the point of error.

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“I am afraid of political extremism,” retired Therese Eschen, 89, said after voting for Macron in Paris. “I don’t know what will happen to France.”

Give her a chance

Projections showed that the hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon took third place on Sunday with an estimated 20%.

Le Pen’s victory on April 24 would be as shocking to the establishment as Britain’s vote to leave the European Union or Donald Trump’s entry into the White House in 2017.

France, the second largest economy in the European Union, will go from being a driving force for European integration to being led by a euro skeptic who is also suspicious of NATO’s military alliance.

While Le Pen has abandoned her earlier ambitions for a “Frexit” or taking France out of the eurozone’s single currency, she envisions the European Union merely as an alliance of sovereign states.

In previous French elections in 2002 and 2017, voters from the left and the right united to prevent the far right from power.

However, polls show that the so-called “Republican Front” has collapsed, with many left-wing voters saying they hate endorsing a leader they derided as the “president of the rich”.

“We want a change, so why not give it a chance (in the second round)?” Technician Alex Talcon said in the Paris suburb of Bobigny after voting for the hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

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Additional reporting by Tassilo Hamel, Sibel de la Hamide, Michelle Rose, Lee Thomas, Heidi Plusif, Gus Trombes, McKinney Price and Jonathan van der Voor in Paris, Juliette Jabekeiro in La Villette, Mimosa Spencer in Sevres, Michaela Cabrera in Henin Beaumont Lili Faroudi in Bobigny; Written by Ingrid Melander and Richard Love; Editing by Jane Merriman and Andrew Cawthorne

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