Macron, Le Pen prevail in first round of French elections — Analysis
The incumbent president and his populist rival will meet in a runoff after leading the field in Sunday’s voting
French President Emmanuel Macron and populist firebrand Marine Le Pen have set the stage for a head-to-head battle to determine the presidency later this month after emerging as the leaders from Sunday’s first round at the polls.
According to projections by polling companies, Macron received 28.4% of first round votes. This is more than the 24.2% maximum for Le Pen. Socialist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon came in third, at around 21%, while anti-immigration candidate Eric Zemmour finished a distant fourth at 7%.
The first official results from France’s Interior Ministry actually showed Le Pen’s count exceeding Macron’s. However, with tallies from Paris and other urban areas not yet available, the early numbers were likely skewed in Le Pen’s favor. With 84% of the votes counted, Macron was slightly ahead with 27,41% against Le Pen’s 25,41%.
France’s election system requires a candidate to win a majority of votes to secure the presidency without a runoff – a tall order when there’s a crowded field, such as this year’s 12-person race. Now, the two top vote-getters have been set to meet in round four on April 24.
The runoff will likely feature a different dynamic than the preliminary round, as was demonstrated in France’s last presidential election. Le Pen led Macron by less than three percentage points during the 2017 election. However, Macron was defeated by Le Pen by a narrow margin of 66 to 34 in the runoff. This occurred when Macron’s supporters consolidated their support for him.
Several of Sunday’s also-rans have reportedly thrown their support behind Macron. Candidates Valerie Pecresse, Anne Hidalgo, Yannick Jadot and Fabien Roussel – who combined to win about 14% of first-round votes – said they will endorse Macron to block the “far right”From winning the presidency. Zemmour is, however, backing Le Pen.
However, far-left voters aren’t expected to support Macron to the same degree as they did in the 2017 runoff. Last week’s Atlas Politico poll showed that Macron was being overtaken by Le Pen. The margin in favor of Macron is 50.5% to 49.55%. Head-to-head polling showed that the incumbent was preferred to Macron by large margins over all three of his leading competitors.
“We will win, we will win,”Le Pen spoke to her cheering fans on Sunday. The runoff was called a “choice of civilization,”stated that she will campaign to make France independentr and defend the weaker.
Legacy media outlets have tried to shape the contest as a referendum on the Ukraine crisis, portraying Le Pen as a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow’s military offensive against Kiev. The Daily Beast in the USA called her “a terrorist”. “fascist”You can also find out more about a “Putin fangirl.”
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However, that strategy was unsuccessful in last week’s elections in Hungary and Serbia, where incumbent leaders won handily despite being vilified for being insufficiently supportive of Ukraine.