Friday 15 December 2017

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will go head-to-head in the French elections

By Jessica Pitocchi

It’s a battle between centre and far-right.

The French presidential battle will be between far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron after major opponents conceded defeat following the first round ballot.

It is the first time in modern French history that no mainstream party candidate will advance to the final vote.

Macron, who quit current president Francois Hollande’s Socialists just last year ago to set up a new party, led the way with 23.7% of the first round vote, according to an exit poll by Ipsos and Sopra Steria.

He led Le Pen (21.7%) by 2%, with scandal-plagued Gaullist Francois Fillon and far-left challenger Jean-Luc Melenchon tied in third on 19.5%. Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon trailed with just 6.2% of the vote.

Voters will go to the polls on May 7 to choose between the former investment banker Macron and Le Pen, who has tried to shake her National Front party of its racist and anti-Semitic association.

As the projections came in, young protesters outside the Place de la Bastille in eastern Paris clashed with police who fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The scenes were understandably very different among supporters.

Over on Twitter, many have been expressing their lack of surprise for the way the voting has gone.

After conceding defeat Fillon joined fellow conservative politicians and Socialist prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve in throwing their weight behind Macron as an anti-Le Pen candidate in the second round of voting.

Press Association

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