the french leader Emmanuel Macron and his rival Marine LePen were preparing on Sunday for what promises to be a second round of the presidential elections of the April 24which will pit a pro-European economic liberal against a far-right nationalist.
With partial results they placed Macron in the first place in front of Le Pen after the first round vote, other major candidates conceded defeat. Except for one other far-right candidate, Eric Zemourall urged voters to avoid a far-right win in the second round.
“Nothing is decided, and the battle we will wage in the next 15 days will be decisive for France and EuropeMacron told his supporters, urging all voters to join his candidacy on April 24 to prevent the far right from ruling the European Union’s second-largest economy.
The Ifop polls predicted a very tight second round, with a 51% for Macron and a 49% for Le Pen. The gap is so narrow that victory is either way within the margin of error.
Other pollsters offered a slightly larger margin in favor of Macron, with up to 54%. But that was, in any case, much closer than in 2017, when Macron beat Le Pen with 66.1% of the votes.
Le Pen, who in recent weeks has surpassed the 10-point lead he once had Macron in the polls thanks to a cost-of-living campaign, she said she was the one to protect the weak and unite a nation tired of its elite.
“What will be at stake on April 24 is a choice of society, a choice of civilization,” he told his supporters, who chanted “We are going to win!” when she told them, “I will bring order back to France.”
In the meantime, Macron he pointed to supporters waving French and EU flags: “the only project that is credible to help purchasing power is ours.”
With 88% of the votes counted for the Sunday’s first round, Macron obtained 27.41% of the votes and Le Pen 24.9%. A near total count of the votes was expected later in the evening.
A victory of Le Pen April 24 would be a shock similar to Britain’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union (EU) or Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House in 2017.
France would go from being a driving force for European integration to being led by a Eurosceptic who is also suspicious of the military alliance of the NATO.
Yes ok Le Pen ditched past ambitions for a “Frexit” or pulling France out of the eurozone’s single currency, it sees the EU as merely an alliance of sovereign states.
the conservative candidate Valerie Pecresse warned of “disastrous consequences” if Macron loses, while Socialist Anne Hidalgo urged her supporters to vote for him “so that France does not fall into hatred.”
“Not a vote for Le Pen!” added the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchonwho, according to estimates, came in third place with about 20% of the vote.