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Emmanuel Macron faces Marine Le Pen in the French election on the eve of the election

According to estimates, Emmanuel Macron will face far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the second and final stage of the French presidential election on April 24 after they defeat other candidates in the French presidential election. First round of voting on Sunday.

With about 85% of the votes counted, electoral authority estimates based on results so far show Macron winning about 28% and Le Pen 23% of the vote in the first round, ahead of the far-left candidate. Jean-Luc Mélenchon with around 21-22%.

The results of Sunday’s vote show Le Pen, 53, is closer than ever to powering the far right in France and mimicking Donald Trump’s nationalist victories in the US. and Brexit supporters in the UK six years ago.

Two polls came on Sunday after the first round of voting indicated that Macron would narrowly beat Le Pen in the opening match. In a poll of 1,500 people, Elabe found that Macron would win within 52% to 48, within margin of error, while an Ipsos poll of 2,000 showed he would win by margin 54-46.

Le Pen is skeptical of the EU, has vowed to withdraw from NATO’s military command structure and was previously an admirer of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. If she wins, it will send shockwaves across Europe and the world at a time when Russian forces are waging war on European soil in Ukraine.

Le Pen told supporters that the final vote in two weeks would decide the fate of “society and even civilization” and that, if she won, she would restore “the prosperity and majesty” of the country. She said she planned to be president of “all the French”.

While Le Pen addressed the need to deal with immigration and restore law and order, Macron told supporters he supported “progress and openness”. While wanting to fight Islam’s “separatism”, he rejected xenophobia and the idea of ​​stopping Muslims and Jews from eating and drinking according to their strict religious regulations.

“It’s not us,” he said. “No fouls. This competition is not over yet and the debate we will have in the next two weeks will be decisive for our country and for Europe . . . I want a France that starts. from a mighty Europe”.

Both Macron and Le Pen immediately began hunting down the votes of the losing candidates. Macron named and thanked each of the 10 candidates who failed to qualify in the first round and told his supporters to show them respect.

Eric Zemmour, the anti-immigration TV polemicist who quickly eclipsed Le Pen after entering last year’s race, is predicted to win 7% of the vote in the first round – and most of those His supporters have told pollsters they will support Le Pen in the second round.

Sunday’s results underscored the collapse of support for the traditional parties of the left and right – the Socialist party and the conservative Republican Les Rép, who between them have provided all both French presidents from 1958 to Macron’s victory in 2017 – and the rise of extreme nationalism.

Marine Le Pen thanked her supporters after the prediction of the first round results was released. The final vote will decide the fate of ‘society and even of civilization’, she says © Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

Valérie Pécresse, the conservative candidate, is expected to receive just 5% of the vote in the first round. Yannick Jadot of the Greens also got 5% and Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and Socialist candidate, 2%.

Both Macron and Le Pen scored slightly better in the first round than in 2017, and it looks like voters are pouring in late for both of the top candidates.

Battling his third presidential campaign, Le Pen has surged in opinion polls in recent weeks after focusing on concerns about soaring costs of living at a time of gas prices. , diesel and other commodities spiked after Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

She has said she will crack down on Muslims and immigrants and ban women from wearing the veil in public, citing it as “Muslim uniform”.

The liberal internationalist Macron – who was involved in tense NATO, G7 and EU negotiations on sanctions against Russia and in favor of Ukraine – joined the campaign late and lost his lead. early polls as he tried to convince voters that they needed to give him a second five-year term at the Elysée Palace.

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Macron said Le Pen as president would be a danger to France, the EU and the Western union, and criticized her protectionist economic program as incoherent and unfunded. His manifesto included persisting in reform and tax cuts to modernize the economy and attract foreign investment, while working towards full employment.

Data and graphics of Steve Bernard, Oli Elliott and Martin Stabe

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