Pollsters Get One Right: Macron and Le Pen Square Off in Round Two as Expected

Evening summary

Emmanuel Macron has beaten the far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the first round of the French presidential election, with a projected total of 23.7% to Le Pen’s 21.9%.

The two candidates – the first pro-European and internationalist, the other anti-EU and protectionist – will now face off in a second round run off on 7 May. Polls have consistently forecast Macron will beat Le Pen and become France’s next president.

The scandal-hit conservative candidate, François Fillon, and Socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon, both conceded defeat and called on their supporters to back Macron.

The first round result is an epochal political upheaval for France. For the first time in the nearly 60-year history of the Fifth Republic, neither of the candidates of the established parties of left and right will be in the run off.

Speaking in her home constituency of Hénin-Beaumont, Le Pen said the French people now faced a very simple choice:

“Either we continue on the path to complete deregulation, or you choose France. You now have the chance to choose real change. This is what I propose: real change. It is time to liberate the French nation from arrogant elites who want to dictate how it must behave. Because yes, I am the candidate of the people.”

Macron said that in the space of a year, since founding his En Marche! movement, it had “changed the face of French politics” and asked for a big victory for a large governing majority:

“I want to construct a majority to govern and to transform, of new talents, in which all will have their place. I will not ask where they come from, but whether they agree with the renewal of our politics, the security of the French people, reforming society and relaunching the European project. You are the face of this renewal. My fellow citizens, there is not more than one France. There is only one, ours, the France of patriots, in a Europe that protects and that we must reform. The task is immense, but I am ready, at your sides. Vive la République, vive la France.”

We are still awaiting the final interior ministry result and will bring that to you as soon as it is released.

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