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Emmanuel Macron vs Marine Le Pen

If Macron’s victory is confirmed, he is likely to continue his reform agenda.

Louise Delmotte Getty Images News | Getty Images

Frenchman Emmanuel Macron seems ready for the president’s second term, with polls predicting that he will comfortably defeat his far-right rival Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s election.

Centrist Macron of La République En Marche appears to win 58.2% in the second and final round, according to a projection by Ipsos-Sopra Steria with Marine Le Pen of the nationalist and far-right National Assembly. at 41.8%.

Immediately after the screenings, Le Pen spoke to her supporters in Paris and accepted the defeat. She said her result was a “victory” for her political movement and pointed to the parliamentary elections in June.

“The French have shown a desire tonight for a strong counterattack against Emmanuel Macron, an opposition that will continue to defend and protect them,” she told Reuters.

Despite Macron’s expected victory, the margin represents a smaller gap between the two candidates compared to the 2017 election, when Macron won with 66.1% of the vote.

Voter apathy

The campaign in 2022 took place against the background of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the crisis of living costs in France, the increase in support of the far left among the younger generations and signs of widespread voter apathy. According to the Ministry of the Interior, Sunday’s turnout was 2 percentage points lower than in the 2017 elections.

At the beginning of the campaign, 44-year-old Macron benefited from his stance and diplomatic efforts against the Russo-Ukrainian War. However, this support faded in the days before the first round of voting on April 10, when French citizens focused heavily on domestic affairs and soaring inflation.

Marine Le Pen – who has now run for president of France three times – has decided to distance herself from her previous rhetoric about the European Union and the integration of the euro and instead focus on the economic struggles of French voters.

Putin’s links

However, as the second round of voting approached, control over the two individuals and their policies intensified. In Wednesday’s two-hour television debate, Macron drew attention to Le Pen’s previous relations with Russia and President Vladimir Putin and accused her of dependence on Moscow.

Macron said on Friday that Le Pen’s plans to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves in public would provoke a “civil war.”

If Macron’s victory is confirmed, he will become the first French president in two decades to win a second term. It will seek to continue its reform agenda, which recently promised to help France achieve full employment and change the country’s retirement age from 62 to 65.

Frederic Leroux, head of the cross-asset team at France’s Carmignac fund manager, said Macron’s clear victory was likely to calm the markets.

“In the short term, the main logical recipient of these elections could be the euro, which last Friday flirted with two-year lows against the dollar,” he said in a flash report after the projections.

“However, a negative aspect for the markets of these rather convenient elections could be a quick decision in favor of a Russian oil embargo, which would exacerbate inflationary pressures and economic slowdown (stagflation scenario) in Europe,” he added.

Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg, said the result was “among the best news for Europe since the European Central Bank stopped the euro crisis almost 10 years ago in July 2012”.

“As the second mandate for Macron was widely expected, the result may not move the markets too much,” he said in a research report, adding that France would now “most likely remain the engine of growth and progress in Europe over the next five years. . “