Saturday 22 July 2017

Head to head: Marine Le Pen v Emmanuel Macron

By Catherine Wyatt

The new president will be voted in on Sunday May 7.

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have both renewed their presidential campaigns with vigour after successfully making it into the second round of voting for the French election.

Centrist candidate Macron won the first round with 23.9% of the vote, knocking National Front leader Le Pen into second place with 21.4%.

The two potential presidents sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum – Macron is pro-Europe and pro-business with an optimistic vision of a tolerant France with open borders, while Le Pen has called for economic protectionism, tougher security, a Frexit referendum and less immigration.

Macron set up his own movement – En Marche! – in order to contest the election, meaning that the two candidates in the run-off are not from the traditional Socialist or Republican parties, a highly unusual event.

Macron is widely tipped to win the second round, with polls projecting that he will beat Le Pen by 20 to 30 percentage points.

After the first round politicians rallied round Macron, calling on their supporters to vote for him, including defeated Republican Francois Fillon and Socialist Benoit Hamon.

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who finished in tied third place with Fillon, did not endorse either candidate for the run-off.

Le Pen, whose father Jean-Marie stunned voters by qualifying for the run-off in 2002 before losing heavily to incumbent Jacques Chirac, told voters: “You have the choice of an alternative, a true one.

“What I propose to you is a big alternative, the fundamental alternative that will put other faces in power.”

After his first-round victory, Macron said: “I will be the president of all the people of France, the president of the patriots against the nationalists’ threat.”

The vote to decide between the pair will take place on Sunday May 7.

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