- BBC News World
President Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen took first place in Sunday’s election in France, so they will face each other in the presidential run-off.
Macron scores 274% of the vote and deducted 24.9%. In third place, close to the leader of the National Group, leftist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon came with 20.5% after 88% of the votes were counted.
Le Pen and Macron actually faced each other in the second election round in 2017.
On this occasion, the European country will hold the crucial elections on April 24, in which none of the 12 current candidates has obtained 50% of the votes needed to win in the first round. The new French leader will take power on May 13.
An opinion poll published by the French channel BFM, on Sunday evening, showed Macron receiving 52% of the voting preferences and Le Pen with 48%.
The president can immediately run for re-election once, and each term in office lasts five years. If Macron wins, he will be the first president to be renewed in the past 20 years.
At her campaign headquarters, after the first results were published, Le Pen asked those who do not support Macron to vote for her in the second round.
She added that she would be “the president of all the French people” if elected. He also touched on the issues he campaigned on, including a reaffirmation of French values, immigration control and security.
“Without waiting, I intend to sever the tears from which collapsed France has suffered, something which that force has hitherto been unable to do,” he said.
Macron, for his part, asked the French to stop the far right. “I call on everyone, including those who didn’t vote for me in the first round, to support us,” he said.
“What satisfies populism and xenophobia, this is not France,” he said. “Nothing has been decided,” he added, asking his followers “to spare no effort.”
The president also thanked the candidates who lost and publicly asked for a vote on his nomination.
They ask not to vote for Le Pen
At least five lost candidates asked voters not to favor Le Pen in the upcoming election, including Mélenchon, who was knocked out earlier before the defeat.
The politician from France Insumisa, described as the “left”‘s hope in the current elections, said: “You shouldn’t give Le Pen a single vote! You shouldn’t give Le Pen a single vote!”
He added, “Let’s not make the mistake of pounce, we know who we’d never vote for!” But he never mentioned Macron.
Valerie Pecres (4.7%), Republican and Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo (1.76), communist Fabien Roussel (2.38) and environmentalist Yannick Gadot (4.3%) all asked to vote for the current French president.
Similarly, the far-right Eric Zemmour showed a preference for Le Pen. The journalist, identified with more conservative attitudes than Le Pen, came fourth in Sunday’s election with 6.9%.
Figures for the weekend’s elections, in which 49 million citizens were invited to participate, show an increase in abstentions compared to the last two electoral events.
According to the data of the Ministry of the Interior, 65% of those eligible to vote were registered at 5:00 pm local time. In the first round five years ago, participation accounted for 69.42%, while in 2012 this rate was 70.59% for the same period.
Opinion polls have indicated that the most important issues in the current election race are the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the economy, immigration and security.
In January, France recorded its highest annual economic growth rate in half a century, having recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But gasoline prices have skyrocketed, energy bills and annual inflation are up 4.5%.
Of course, those most affected by the economic situation are low-income voters, as well as those under the age of 35.
For this reason, 12 candidates adapted their proposals to the cost of living crisis. Some have offered big increases in basic income or, in Le Pen’s case, a tax break for those under 30.
Similarly, the country has seen its unemployment rate drop to 7.4%, slightly above the eurozone average, but close to the target set by the incumbent when he took office, which was his promise of 7%.
Regarding immigration, official statistics show that in 2020 there were about 6.8 million immigrants living in France. About a third of them were Europeans, from EU countries and from outside the EU.
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