(CNN) – Emmanuel Macron will win the presidential election in FranceThe polls project, to avoid a historic challenge from right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen during the second round of voting on Sunday.
Macron is expected to receive 58.2% of the vote, according to an analysis of voting data from pollsters Ipsos & Sopra Steria conducted for France TV and Radio broadcasters, making him the first French leader to be re-elected in 20 years. However, voter turnout was on track to be the lowest in the presidential runoff since 2002, according to government data released in the late afternoon local time. Ipsos & Sopra Steria forecast an abstention rate of 28.2% for the second round, also the lowest since 2002.
French opinion polls usually release forecasts at 8 p.m. local time, when polls close in major cities and several hours before the French Interior Ministry releases official results. Candidates and the French media often use these predictions, which are based on data from polling stations that close at 7 p.m. in the rest of the country, to announce the winner.
Although Macron’s speech to the electorate, about a globalized and economically liberal France at the head of a strong European Union, defeated Le Pen’s vision of radical change at home, 41.8% of the people who voted for it brought the French far-right closer to the presidency. More than ever.
Macron’s supporters, who had gathered in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in central Paris, erupted into crowded cheers when the news was announced. The celebration was significantly lower than after Macron’s victory in 2017, though he once again marched to deliver his address to the European anthem, known as the “Ode to Joy”.
In his victory speech, Macron promised to be “the president of each of you”. He then thanked his followers and acknowledged that many, as in 2017, voted for him simply to prevent the far right.
Macron said his second term would not be a continuation of his first and pledged to tackle all of France’s current problems.
He also addressed those who supported Le Pen directly and said that, as president, he must find an answer to the “anger and disagreements” that drove them to vote for the far right.
“It will be my responsibility and the responsibility of those around me,” Macron said.
Within half an hour, Le Pen delivered a speech of concession to her supporters who had gathered near a pavilion in Bois de Boulogne, west of Paris.
“The great winds of freedom could have blown our country, but the polls decided otherwise,” Le Pen said.
However, Le Pen acknowledged the fact that the far right had not performed well in any presidential election. He described the result as a “historic” and a “remarkable victory” that put his political party, Agrupación Nacional, “in an excellent position” for the legislative elections in June.
“The game is not quite over,” he said.
Le Pen admits defeat
Marine Lupine He admitted defeat in the second round of the French presidential election, but said that its outcome was nonetheless a victory. Looking combative, Le Pen signaled that she would continue to fight.
He indicated that legislative elections will be held within two months and urged his supporters to continue to support his party.
The great winds of freedom could have blown over our country, and the fate of suffrage wanted something else.
He added: “I will not abandon the French! Vive la France,” he concluded in brief statements, west of Paris.
Marine Le Pen has hinted that despite losing the presidential election to Emmanuel Macron, securing nearly 42% of French voters means her far-right movement has a solid foundation on which to build in the future.
“The game is not over yet, as legislative elections will take place in a few weeks,” Le Pen said in her abdication letter.
“Tonight we are waging the great battle for the legislative elections … with all those who have the nation at heart … I will never abandon the French,” he added.
Putin’s potential influence on this election
Macron and Le Pen advanced to the second round after finishing first and second, respectively, among the 12 candidates who competed in the first round on April 10. They spent the next two weeks touring the country courting those who had not voted for them in the first round.
The second-round lineup was a repeat of the 2017 presidential run-off, when Macron, a political newcomer, defeated Le Pen by nearly two votes to one. But this time, Macron has had to deliver a mixed record on domestic issues, such as his handling of the yellow vest protests and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Le Pen’s ability to attract new voters since 2017 is the latest sign that the French public is turning to extremist politicians to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. In the first round, far-left and far-right candidates captured more than 57% of the vote cast, while 26.3% of registered voters stayed home, resulting in the lowest turnout in 20 years.
Le Pen’s campaign sought to capitalize on public anger over the low cost of living by launching a serious campaign to help people deal with inflation and high energy prices, a major concern of French voters, and instead trust anti-Islamist, anti-immigration and Eurosceptic positions. which dominated his first two attempts to win the presidency in 2017 and 2012.
She presented herself as a more traditional and less radical candidate, although much of her manifesto remains the same as it was five years ago. “Stopping uncontrolled immigration” and “eradicate Islamic ideologies” were a priority of his statement, with analysts saying many of his EU policies would have pitted France against the bloc.
Although Le Pen has dropped some of her more controversial policy proposals, such as leaving the European Union and the euro, her views on immigration and her position on Islam in France (she wants to make it illegal to wear the headscarf in public). I do not change.
“I think the hijab is the dress that the Islamists have imposed,” he said during Wednesday’s only presidential debate. “I think the vast majority of women who wear clothes can do nothing else, even if they don’t dare say it.”
But Vladimir Putin may have represented his greatest political risk. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Le Pen was an outspoken supporter of Russia’s president, even visiting him during his 2017 election campaign. Her party also took a loan from a Russian-Czech bank several years ago and is still repaying it.
Although he has since condemned the invasion of Moscow, Macron attacked Le Pen for her past stances during the debate. She said she could not be trusted to represent France when dealing with the Kremlin.
You talk to your bank when you talk to Russia. Macron said during the discussion. He cannot adequately defend France’s interests in this case because his interests are linked to people close to Russian power.
Le Pen said her party was forced to seek funding from abroad because no French bank had agreed to the loan request, but the defense did not appear to have resonated.
Simon Bouvier, Xiaofei Xu, Camille Knight and Elias Lemercier of CNN contributed to this report.
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