French President Emmanuel Macron defeated his far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Sunday by a comfortable margin, early projections by pollsters showed, securing a second term and heading off what would have been a political earthquake, APA reports citing Reuters.
The first projections showed Macron securing around 57-58% of the vote. Such estimates are normally accurate but may be fine-tuned as official results come in from around the country.
Cheers of joy erupted as the results appeared on a giant screen at the Champ de Mars park at the foot of the Eiffel tower, where Macron supporters waved French and EU flags. People hugged each other and chanted “Macron”.
In contrast, a gathering of dejected Le Pen supporters erupted in boos and whistles as they heard the news at a sprawling reception hall on the outskirts of Paris.
Macron can expect little to no grace period after many, especially on the left only voted for him reluctantly to block the far-right from winning. Protests that marred part of his first mandate could erupt again quite quickly, as he tries to press on with pro-business reforms.
“There will be continuity in government policy because the president has been reelected. But we have also heard the French people’s message,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told BFM TV.
A first major challenge will be the parliamentary elections. They are just around the corner, in June, and opposition parties on the left and right will immediately start a major push to try to vote in a parliament and government opposed to Macron.
Philippe Lagrue, 63, technical director at a theatre in Paris, said earlier in the day that he had cast a ballot for Macron, after voting for the hard-left Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round.
He said he will vote for Melenchon again in the legislative elections: “Melenchon Prime Minister. That would be fun. Macron would be upset, but that’s the point.”
Ifop, Elabe, OpinionWay and Ipsos pollsters projected a 57.6-58.2% win for Macron.
The results in the French presidential elections are in and incumbent Emmanuel Macron, who was favourite to win, has secured a second term with 58% of the votes, projections show, APA reports citing BBC.
Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen received 42% of the votes, they say.