March 31, 2023


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French Presidents Macron and Le Pen head to the re-run of the Cliffhanger elections on April 24

French Presidents Macron and Le Pen head to the re-run of the Cliffhanger elections on April 24

  • Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen lead the first round
  • The date for the presidential election run-off is set for April 24
  • The battle lines drawn between globalization and nationalism

PARIS (Reuters) – French leader Emmanuel Macron and rival Marine Le Pen qualified on Sunday for what he promised to run in the April 24 presidential election, between a pro-European economic liberal and a far-right nationalist.

With Macron expected to put Le Pen in first place after the first round of voting on Sunday, the other leading candidates conceded defeat. With the exception of another far-right candidate, Eric Zemmour, they all urged voters to support the incumbent within two weeks in order to derail the far right.

Ifop polling organizers expected a limited run-off, with 51% for Macron and 49% for Le Pen. The gap is so narrow that victory in either case is within the margin of error.

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In 2017, Macron won 66.1% of the vote.

Le Pen, who captured the president’s lead in 10-point polls in recent weeks thanks to a campaign focused on cost-of-living issues, said she was the one protecting the weak and uniting a nation tired of its elite.

She told her supporters, who chanted, “We will win!” As she told them, “I will restore order to France.”

Meanwhile, Macron told his supporters, waving the flags of France and the European Union: “The only reliable project to help with purchasing power is ours.”


Macron won 28.1-29.5% of the vote in the first round while Le Pen won 23.3-24.4%, according to estimates by polling organizations Ifop, OpinionWay, Elabe and Ipsos. Official confirmation is expected later on Sunday.

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Conservative candidate Valerie Pecres warned of “serious consequences” if Macron lost, while Socialist MP Anne Hidalgo urged her supporters to vote for him “so that France does not fall into hatred”.

“Not a single vote for Le Pen!” And added the hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who, according to estimates, took third place with about 20% of the vote.

But they all also had very harsh words for Macron, some unpopular policies in his first term as well as a lying style that alienated many voters.

“Emmanuel Macron played with fire,” Pecres told his supporters.

And in a sign of potential problems for the right, Eric Ciuty of the Pecres party said he would not support Macron.

Zemmour acknowledged there were differences with Le Pen, but said Macron was the worst option.

Macron wants a rare second term

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

Barely a month ago, Macron was comfortably on course to reverse that, ranking high in opinion polls thanks to strong economic growth, a fragmented opposition and his role as a statesman in trying to avoid war in Ukraine 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.

Le Pen, an outspoken admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin until his invasion of Ukraine, toured towns and villages across France for several months. She focused on the issues of the high cost of living that bothered millions and angered the rulers.

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“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. Macron’s old supporter.

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

The EU’s second-largest economy may be swung from being a driving force for European integration to being spearheaded by Euro skeptics who are 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.

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Additional reporting by McKinney Press, Tassilo Hamill, Cybele de la Hamide, Michelle Rose, Lee Thomas, Heidi Plusive, Gus Trombes in Paris, Juliette Gabkeiro in La Villettele, Mimosa Spencer in Severus, Miquela Cabrera in Henin Beaumont and Lily Farodi in Bobigny; Written by Ingrid Melander and Richard Love; Editing by Jane Merriman, Andrew Cawthorne and Mark Porter

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.