Exit polls in France predict Macron should be re-elected with almost 60% of the vote

PARIS, France (AFP) — French President Emmanuel Macron defeated his rival Marine Le Pen in the presidential elections on Sunday, projections showed, sparking a wave of relief in Europe that the far right had been prevented from taking power.

Centrist Macron was expected to win 57.0-58.5% of the vote to Le Pen’s 41.5-43%, according to projections by French TV polling companies based on a sample of the vote count.

The result is narrower than in the clash of the second round in 2017, when the same two candidates met in the second round and Macron collected more than 66% of the vote.

The result, which is expected to be confirmed by official results overnight, has prompted huge relief in Europe after fears that a Le Pen presidency could leave the continent rudderless after Brexit and the departure of German Chancellor Angela Merkel .

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called Macron’s victory “good news for all of Europe”.

EU President Charles Michel said the bloc could now “count on France for another five years”, while commission head Ursula von der Leyen quickly congratulated him, saying ” delighted to be able to continue our excellent cooperation”.

Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate of the far-right Rassemblement national (RN) party, delivers a speech at the Pavillon d’Armenonville in Paris on April 24, 2022 after the announcement of the first projections by polling companies of the results of the second turn of the French presidential election. (Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

Following the exit poll announcement, Macron vowed to find an answer to the anger of voters who backed his far-right rival, saying his new term would not be unchanged from the past five years .

“An answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right. It will be my responsibility and that of those around me,” he told a rally outside the Eiffel Tower after screenings showed he had been re-elected.

Macron also promised a “renewed method” for governing France, adding that this “new era” would not be one of “continuity with the last term which ends now”.

In a combative speech to supporters in Paris where she accepted the result but showed no signs of quitting politics, Le Pen, 53, said she would ‘never give up’ on the French and was already preparing in the June legislative elections.

“The result represents a brilliant victory,” she said to cheers.

Photos of candidates Emmanuel Macron (L) and Marine Le Pen are displayed during the second round of voting in the French presidential elections at the French embassy in Beijing on April 24, 2022. (Noel Celis / AFP)

The relatively comfortable margin of victory gives Macron some confidence as he heads for a second five-year term, but the election also represents the closest the far right has come to power in France.

Macron is the first French president to be re-elected since Jacques Chirac in 2002 after his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande left office after just one term.

The 44-year-old is due to deliver a victory speech on the Champ de Mars in central Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, where flag-waving supporters burst into joy when the projections appeared at 8 p.m. local time (6:00 p.m. GMT).

High ambitions

Macron hopes for a less complicated second term that will allow him to implement his vision of more business-friendly reform and closer European integration after a first term marked by protests, then the pandemic and finally the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

But he will have to convince those who supported his opponents and the millions of French people who did not bother to vote.

Based on official figures, pollsters estimated that the abstention rate was on track at 28%, which, if confirmed, would be the highest in any presidential run-off since 1969. .

The April 10 first-round result had left Macron in a strong but not unassailable position to retain the presidency.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, deputy of the French left-wing party La France Insoumise (LFI) at the Maison de la Chimie in Paris on April 21, 2122 (BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

Convincing supporters of far-left third candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon to hold their noses and vote for the former investment banker was a key priority for Macron in the second phase of the campaign.

Macron will also need to make sure his party finds strong popular support to maintain control of a parliamentary majority in June’s legislative elections and avoid any awkward “cohabitation” with a prime minister who does not share his political views.

The bitter pill for Le Pen

Top of his to-do list is pension reform, including a raise in France’s retirement age which Macron says is essential for the budget but is likely to face strong opposition and to protests.

He will also have to return quickly from the election campaign to deal with the Russian onslaught on Ukraine, with pressure on France to step up arms deliveries to kyiv and signs that President Vladimir Putin is losing interest. of any diplomacy.

For Le Pen, his third defeat in the presidential elections will be a bitter pill to swallow after years of effort to qualify and steer his party away from the legacy of its founder, his father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Critics have insisted his party has never ceased to be far-right and racist while Macron has repeatedly highlighted his plan to ban the wearing of Muslim headscarves in public if elected.

When Jean-Marie Le Pen reached the second round in 2002, the result stunned France and he won less than 18% in the second round against Chirac.

We tell a critical story

Israel is now a much bigger player on the world stage than its size suggests. As a diplomatic correspondent for The Times of Israel, I am well aware that Israel’s security, strategy and national interests are always under scrutiny and have serious implications.

It takes poise, determination, and knowledge to accurately convey the story of Israel, and I come to work every day aiming to do just that.

Financial support from readers like you allows me to travel to witness both the war (I have just returned from a report in Ukraine) and the signing of historic agreements. And it keeps The Times of Israel the place readers around the world turn to for accurate information about Israel’s relationship with the world.

If it’s important to you that independent, factual coverage of Israel’s role in the world exists and thrives, I urge you to support our work. Will you join the Times of Israel community today?

Thanks,

Lazarus Bermandiplomatic correspondent

Yes, I will give Yes, I will give Already a member? Log in to stop seeing this

You are a dedicated reader

That’s why we started The Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other media, we don’t have a paywall in place. But since the journalism we do is expensive, we invite readers to whom The Times of Israel has become important to support our work by joining The Times of Israel community.

For just $6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while benefiting from The Times of Israel WITHOUT ADVERTISINGas well as access Exclusive Content only available to members of the Times of Israel community.

Thanks,
David Horovitz, founding editor of The Times of Israel

Join our community Join our community Already a member? Log in to stop seeing this