French Election: Macron and Le Pen Advance to Second Round

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After the April 23rd first round of voting results have begun being counted, the results show Emmanuel Macron, former Socialist turned centrist candidate and leader of his newly found party En Marche!,  has taken first place with an initial estimate according to Ipsos of 23.7% of the vote.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing Front National, placed a close second with an estimated 21.7% of the vote.

According to TNS Sofres, a different pollster, both Le Pen and Macron took 23 percent of the vote. Estimates differ between pollsters. While the numbers are not final, the margin is wide enough between the first two candidates and the rest of the pack that all pollsters and outlets are comfortably projecting the two victors.

These top two candidates will now face off a final time in the second round run-off that is scheduled for two weeks from now on May 7th, in which the majority winner shall assume the presidency of France.

Polling indicates that Macron is slated to easily outperform Le Pen in the second round due to multiple factors, most notably the “front républicain,” a system of tactical voting used by the French electorate to deny victory to what have been deemed extremist parties. Such a system has been successfully implemented before against Le Pen’s own father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who, when shockingly making the second round in the 2002 presidential elections, was defeated by a coalition of center-left and center-right voters.

A political upset cannot be ruled out, however, after a year of political earthquakes capsuling Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the American election of President Donald Trump. Also, extreme unemployment, a continuing threat of terrorism, and left-wing voter abstention in the second round may yet be factors leading to perfect storm conditions that give LePen a chance at victory.

Photo Credit: Reuters

 

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