Macron leads in presidential race – exit polls — Analysis

It is possible that the incumbent will become France’s first leader in 20 years and win a second term.

The exit polls following Sunday’s French election show that the centrist president Emmanuel Macron will be victorious with 58.2%, and Le Pen won 41.8%. Official results won’t be available until Monday.

Macron is on the way to becoming the first French president in 20 years to be re-elected, according to exit polls published by Ipsos and cited in the French media. The first round of the election took place on April 10, leaving two candidates: Macron and the National Rally party’s Marine Le Pen, who is viewed by many as a far-right candidate.

While Le Pen managed to gain record support among French voters in the first round, the incumbent president’s lead has increased since then by 11-15%, according to the polls. Le Pen won 23.15% of the vote while Macron received 27.85%.

EU leaders pick sides in French election

While Macron’s first term was dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the next one, if the official results confirm his victory, will come amid the ongoing Russian military offensive in Ukraine. Macron is one of only a few Western leaders that has held talks regularly with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the last two-months. At the same time, he has played a key role in putting together numerous packages of EU sanctions against Russia, providing military assistance to Ukraine, and deploying troops to NATO’s eastern front.

Some of Macron’s European partners have openly supported him in the race against Le Pen. A joint column calling for French support was published by Olaf Scholz of Germany, Pedro Sanchez from Spain, Antonio Costa, Portugal’s Prime Minister, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz three days prior to the second round.

The leaders wrote: “The choice is between a Democratic nominee who thinks France is stronger when it is part of a powerful, autonomous European Union (EU), or a far-right candidate openly siding with those who threaten our freedom and democracy.

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