In France, voting for the second round of the Presidential election will be held on May 7th as no candidate has secured 50 per cent votes in the first phase.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen are set to face each other in a May 7 runoff for the French presidency. In first round of voting, Macron came first, while Le Pen was second, according to multiple projections.
Though Macron, 39, is a comparative political novice who has never held elected office, opinion polls in the run-up to the ballot have consistently seen him easily winning the final clash against the 48-year-old Le Pen.
Sunday’s outcome spells disaster for the two mainstream groupings that have dominated French politics for 60 years, and also reduces the prospect of an anti-establishment shock on the scale of Britain’s vote last June to quit the EU and the election of Donald Trump as US president.
In a race that was too close to call up to the last minute, Macron, a pro-European Union ex-banker and economy minister who founded his own party only a year ago, was projected to get 24 per cent of the first-round vote by the pollster Harris, and 23.7 per cent by Elabe.
Le Pen, leader of the anti-immigration and anti-EU National Front, was given 22 per cent by both institutes. Macron’s supporters, gathered at a Paris conference centre burst into singing the national anthem, the Marseillaise, a few seconds after results came through. Many were under 25, reflecting some of the appeal of a man aiming to become France’s youngest head of state since Napoleon.
Le Pen, who is herself bidding to make history as France’s first female president, follows in the footsteps of her father, who founded the National Front and reached the second round of the presidential election in 2002. Jean-Marie Le Pen was ultimately defeated when voters from right and left rallied around the conservative Jacques Chirac.
Defeated Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon, Socialist Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and defeated right-wing candidate Francois Fillon all urged voters to rally behind Macron in the second round.
The final outcome on May 7 will influence France’s standing in Europe and the world as a nuclear-armed, veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council and founding member of the organisation that transformed itself into the European Union.