French election: Emmanuel Macron faces Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election

With 27.8% and 23.2% of the vote in the first round of voting on Sunday, the French far-right were longtime qualifiers centrist Macron and Le Pen as the first two candidates, according to the French Interior. Ministry.

12 candidates contested for the top post. Since none of them received more than 50% of the vote in the first round, the first two candidates will face each other in the second round on April 24.

The first round of the 2022 contest was marked by voter indifference, with an estimated turnout of 73.3%, according to analysts Ifop-Fiducial’s French broadcasters TF1 and LCI – the first round in 20 years.

Although Macron received more votes than any of the other candidates in the first round, he is still a polar figure, and his approval rating plummeted during his first term.

In a speech after Sunday’s vote, he urged citizens to vote in the second round.

“Nothing has been resolved. The debate we will have in the next 15 days is crucial for our country and our Europe,” he said. “After leaving Europe, I do not want a France that has only international democrats and racists as allies. It’s not us. I want France loyal to humanity and the spirit of enlightenment,” he said.

Macron is seeking to become the first French president to win re-election since Jacques Chirac in 2002. Polls gave him consistent success on the other field, but the competition has tightened considerably over the past month.

A poll by Ifop-Fiducial released on Sunday showed that Macron would win just 51% to 49% in the second round against Le Pen.

Le Pen’s support has been steadily rising in recent weeks. Although he is best known for his extreme right-wing policies such as strictly controlling immigration and banning Muslim helmets in public places, this time he conducted a major campaign, softening his language and focusing more on pocketbook issues such as the rising cost of living. , A major concern for French voters.

In his speech on Sunday, Le Pen vowed to be “president of all French people” if he won the second round, and called on those who did not vote for Macron to support him in the second round.

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Left-wing firefighter Jean-Luc Mன்சlenchon came in third with 22% of the vote. He experienced a late rise in support and was considered the dark horse candidate who could challenge Macron.

Experts say Mellonson’s voters may decide who they choose to step down in the second round for the presidency. Mலlenchon told his supporters not to “even give Ms Le Pen a vote”, but did not openly support Macron.

No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote. Eric Jemmoor, a far-right political commentator who became the presidential candidate, held one of the top three candidates until March, ranking fourth in the Ibob poll. 7.1%

Other candidates in Sunday’s polls have begun to throw their weight behind the first two seats. When Jemmour called on his supporters to vote for Le Pen, others urged their supporters to distance themselves from him.

The Socialists and Republican candidates from the traditional center-left and center-right parties have already backed Macron.

Socialist Ann Hidalgo said Le Pen’s victory would foster “hatred against all” in France, while Republican Valerie Beckres said “the far right is never close to victory” and was genuinely concerned for the country.

“Marine Le Pen’s plan will open France to dissent, disability and collapse,” Beckress said.

A woman casts her ballot in the first round of the French presidential election in Lyon, central France, on Sunday.

Re-match

Macron’s political upheaval has eroded the playing field because his centrist political party has distanced itself from supporters of the traditional centralist parties, the Socialists and the Republicans. Both of its candidates received less than 5% of the vote on Sunday.

Pre-race studies, Macron Versus. Le Pen’s second round match showed that was mostly the end. Five years ago Le Pen easily defeated Macron, but experts say the second match between the two will be much tighter than the 2017 match.

Macron is no longer a political superpower and should run on a mixed record. Although his ambitious plan to promote EU autonomy and geopolitical development has earned him respect at home and abroad, he remains a divisive figure when it comes to domestic policies. His manipulation Yellow dress movementOne of France’s longest struggles in decades, was widely banned, and his record of the Covid-19 epidemic is endless.

Macron’s signature policy during the crisis – to get people to show evidence of vaccination to get their lives back on track – helped increase vaccination rates but also provoked minorities against his presidency.

French President Emmanuel Macron (center) speaks to a resident near his wife, Brigitte Macron (left), before voting in the first round of Sunday's presidential election.

Macron has done very little campaigning so far. Experts believe his strategy is to avoid as much political mud as possible to brand his image as the highest-ranking president of all candidates. The poll showed he was consistently leading all the candidates and he was considered a shoe-in to enter the second round.

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“Widespread dissatisfaction with Macron (especially among young people) means an uncertain and unpredictable outcome. Le Pen will continue to exploit this, and a major political upheaval is likely,” said Dominic Thomas, CNN European affairs commentator for the second round. Connect.

“No matter how much they hate Le Pen, there is a difference between him and Macron, and how he disrupts European and world politics.”

Le Pen is the daughter of another popular far-right presidential candidate, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Senior Le Pen ran off against Jack Chirac in 2002, but Marine Le Pen has managed to outperform his father in the first round of the last two presidential elections.

Le Pen tried to portray himself A very different candidate to the one who lost to Macron in 2017, When he tried to position himself for the French working class, which had forgotten his country’s response to then US President Donald Trump. Although his views on economic nationalism, immigration, Euro skepticism, and his views on Islam in France remained unchanged, Le Pen sought to expand his appeal.

The contest was initially predicted to be a referendum on the dominance of the far right in French politics, but the war in Ukraine – another major issue for the electorate – raised the bar.

According to the Ibob poll, Macron’s support peaked in early March, when potential voters rallied around the flag and rewarded the president for his efforts to mediate the conflict in Ukraine before Russia’s invasion failed.

Many experts expect the war to hurt Le Pen, a voice admirer of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who became a major figure in the West with the Kremlin’s decision to invade Ukraine in late February. Le Pen met with the Russian president during his 2017 campaign; This time, after Russia’s unprovoked attack on its neighbor, it was forced to remove the leaflet with a photo of her and Putin from the trip.

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Thomas, a CNN European affairs commentator, explained that the upcoming debates would be crucial if Macron’s persuaded voters that Le Pen’s previous support for Putin should disqualify him.

“He will suffer from a number of domestic issues, but he will have difficulty convincing voters of his foreign policy credentials, especially since he has long-standing ties with Russia,” he said.

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