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French election results: Emmanuel Macron, a researchers project, wins

Macron is expected to win 58.5% of the vote, according to an analysis of voting data by Ipsos & Sopra Steria for France Televisions and Radio, making it the first French leader to be re-elected in 20 years. However, according to government figures released in the late afternoon local time, turnout was on track to be the lowest since 2002. Ipsos & Sopra Steria expected a non-turnout rate of 28.2%, which is also the highest since 2002.

French opinion polls usually publish projections at 8 pm local time, when polling stations in major cities close, and a few hours before the French Ministry of the Interior publishes official results. These projections, which are based on polling station data closing in the rest of the country at 7 pm, are usually used by candidates and the French media to declare a winner.

Although Macron’s view of globalized voters, economically liberal France at the head of a muscular European Union, prevailed over Le Pen’s vision of a radical move inward, 41.5% of those who voted for it brought the French far right closer to the presidency. than ever before.

Macron’s supporters, who had gathered on the Champs de Mars in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in central Paris, erupted in loud cheers when the news was announced.

Within half an hour, Le Pen gave a concession speech to her supporters gathered nearby in a pavilion in the Bois de Boulogne in western Paris.

“A great wind of freedom could blow our country, but the ballot box decided otherwise,” Le Pen said.

Nevertheless, Le Pen acknowledged that the far right had never done so well in the presidential election. She described the result as a “historic” and “brilliant victory” that put her National Assembly political party “in an excellent position” for the June parliamentary elections.

“The game isn’t over yet,” she said.

Macron and Le Pen advanced to the second round after finishing first and second among the 12 candidates who ran in the first round on April 10. For the next two weeks, they cruised the country to lure those who did not vote for them in the first round.

The line-up in the second round was a repeat of the 2017 presidential round, when Macron – then a political rookie – defeated Le Pen by almost two votes to one. This time, however, Macron had to run a mixed record on domestic issues, such as his handling of the yellow vest protests and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Macron-Le Pen retaliatory match was expected to be tighter than the first match five years ago. A poll published after the vote in the first round showed that this second round could approach 51% to 49%. When the campaign ended on Friday, most polls divided both candidates by about 10 points.

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 accounted for more than 57% of the votes cast, while 26.3% of registered voters remained at home – leading to the lowest turnout in 20 years.

Le Pen’s campaign sought to provoke public anger by squeezing the cost of living by working hard to help people cope with inflation and rising energy prices – a major problem for French voters – rather than relying on anti-Islamists, anti-immigration and Eurosceptic positions. that dominated her first two attempts to obtain the presidency in 2017 and 2012.

She presented herself as a more mainstream and less radical candidate, although much of her manifesto remained the same as five years ago. Her manifesto’s two priorities were “Stopping uncontrolled immigration” and “eradicating Islamist ideologies,” and analysts say many of her policies toward the EU would put France at odds with the bloc.

Although Le Pen has abandoned some of her most controversial policy proposals, such as leaving the European Union and the euro, her views on immigration and her stance on Islam in France – she wants making headscarves public for women illegal – have not changed.

“I think the headscarf is a uniform introduced by Islamists,” she said during a single presidential debate on Wednesday. “I don’t think the vast majority of women who wear them can do otherwise, even if they don’t dare.”

But Vladimir Putin was perhaps her greatest political responsibility. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Le Pen was a vocal supporter of the Russian president, even visiting him during her campaign in 2017. Her party also took out a loan from a Russian Czech bank a few years ago, which it still repays.

Although she has since condemned the Moscow invasion, Macron attacked Le Pen in her previous positions during the debate. He argued that she could not be trusted to represent France in negotiations with the Kremlin.

“When you talk to Russia, you talk to your banker. That’s the problem,” Macron said during the debate. “You cannot properly defend France’s interests in this matter, because your interests are linked to people close to Russian power.”

Le Pen said her party had been forced to seek financing abroad because no French bank would approve the loan, but the defense seemed to have failed.

Simon Bouvier of CNN, Xiaofei Xu, Camille Knight and Elias Lemercier contributed to this report