Macron, Le Pen Expected To Advance To French Presidential Runoff

Robyn Valdez
April 24, 2017

The eleven candidates who stood in the first round of the French presidential elections have been reduced to two as Macron won 23.9 per cent of vote, heading Le Pen who won 21.4 per cent, with almost all the votes counted on Sunday.

"I want to be the president of all the people of France", he said. "It is time to free French people from arrogant elites".

With Macron topping the first round of the French presidential election, projections show that he is set to face Front National's Marine Le Pen in a race that has knocked France's traditional political parties out of the running.

With Le Pen wanting France to leave the European Union and Macron wanting even closer cooperation between the bloc's 28 nations, Sunday's outcome meant the May 7 runoff will have undertones of a referendum on France's European Union membership.

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Macron is a comparatively untried 39-year old former Rothschild banker, who has been compared by his more enthusiastic supporters to a mixture of Charles de Gaulle, Joan of Arc and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Le Pen has campaigned on a divisive anti-immigrant and xenophobic platform, and was accused of exploiting last week's shooting of a Paris police officer in an effort to garner votes.

Le Pen, in a chest-thumping speech to cheering supporters Sunday night, declared that she embodies "the great alternative" for French voters.

Numerous voters who spoke to The Canadian Press said they weren't overly enthusiastic about Macron but believed he would eliminate Le Pen in the second round.

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"In one year, we have changed the face of French politics", Macron said.

Le Pen's niece, young hardliner Marion Marechal-Le Pen, hailed a "historic victory for patriots and nationalists" but reaction at her headquarters was subdued compared with the euphoria at the Macron party.

After many years of high unemployment and a steady drumbeat of political scandals, voters turned their backs on the establishment and instead backed a political newcomer in Macron and a far-right candidate in Le Pen. "All the democrats in France must now unite, so that he and no nationalist will become president", Schulz said in a tweet.

Voting took place amid heightened security in the first election under France's state of emergency, which has been in place since gun-and-bomb attacks in Paris in 2015.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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