Monday, March 4

Macron and Le Pen will fight again for the Elysee in the second round

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron after exercising their right to vote. / RC | Video: EP

Elections in France

The outgoing president, with a three-point advantage, and the far-right leader of the National Group confirm the polls

BEATRIZ JUDGE Correspondent. Paris

France will live on the 24th a “remake” of the second round of the 2017 presidential elections. The duel between the centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen that the polling institutes had been announcing for months is now a reality. The two will meet again at the polls after the French so decided in the first round.

Twelve candidates, four women and eight men, competed yesterday for the keys to the Elysée Palace after a strange electoral campaign, overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and in which there were no debates between all the opponents. Macron had refused to confront the other rivals, arguing that his predecessors in the post had not done so either when they stood for re-election. According to the Gallic electoral system, only the two most voted candidates go to the second round.

Macron would have obtained 27.4% of the vote, followed by Le Pen, with 24.6% of support, with 90% of the vote counted and awaiting the final results. The last time there was a rematch at the polls was in 1981 with François Mitterrand and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing as candidates.

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  • To the doors.
    Mélenchon benefits from the ‘useful vote’ given the null possibilities of other leaders of the left

  • Controversy.
    Xenophobic and Islamophobic proclamations only take Zemmour to fourth place

Five years ago Macron obtained 24.1% of the votes in the first round and Le Pen 21.3%. In the end, the candidate of La República en Marcha ended up winning the elections with 66.1%, compared to 33.9% of the far-right.

a new campaign

But after the first round, a new campaign begins. Unlike in 2017, Macron is no longer the young candidate who seduced the population. The wear generated by five years marked by crisis could take its toll at the polls. On the contrary, Le Pen arrives reinforced to the second round after resisting the onslaught of the ultra Éric Zemmour, who disputed the leadership of the extreme right. The National Regrouping candidate could benefit in the second round from a reserve of ultra votes from Zemmour, which she did not have in 2017.

In third place would be Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of La Francia Insumisa, the equivalent of Podemos in France. The far-left candidate would obtain 21.1% of support, remaining at the gates of the second round, according to projections. Mélenchon, who was the only candidate from the left with a chance of qualifying for the second round, would have benefited from the so-called ‘useful vote’. The most progressive voters would have preferred to give their support to the candidate of the extreme left given the null chances of winning by the other leaders of that political spectrum.

Zemmour, who had stirred up the campaign with his xenophobic and Islamophobic proclamations, would come in fourth place, with 7% of the vote. In the end the French preferred Le Pen who, compared to the Reconquista candidate, appears more moderate despite still being the leader of a far-right party.

Traditional Conservative Valérie Pécresse would get 4.7%. The Republican candidate was unable to find a gap between the centrist Macron and the far-right tandem formed by Le Pen and Zemmour.

The ecologist Yannick Jadot would obtain 4.5% of the votes; Jean Lassalle, Resistamos candidate and defender of the rural world, 3.2%; the communist Fabien Roussel, 2.4%; the eurosceptic Nicolas Dupont-Aigman, 2.1%; and the socialist Anne Hidalgo, 1.8% of the vote, according to the same projections.

announced failures

The least voted would be Nathalie Arthaud, candidate of the Workers’ Struggle, and Philippe Poutou, of the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), who would add 0.8 and 0.6% of the votes, respectively. The absence of a real electoral campaign and the feeling that everything had already been decided in advance resulted in strong abstention: 26.5%. In 2017, the rate in the first round was 22.2%.

The undecided also marked the elections. Many voters decided their vote at the last moment. On Saturday, 26% of French people said they were not sure which ballot they were going to vote for, according to an Ipsos poll.

After the electoral hangover of the first round, it will be time for the balance sheets. The Republicans and the Socialist Party, traditionally the two major parties in the country, will have to analyze the causes of this historical bump and draw consequences if they do not want to disappear. The former are heirs to Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, and the latter to François Mitterrand and François Hollande.

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