World Europe 24 Apr 2017 Emmanuel Macron ahea ...

Emmanuel Macron ahead of Le Pen in french polls

PTI
Published Apr 24, 2017, 6:12 am IST
Updated Apr 24, 2017, 6:13 am IST
Mr Macron was projected to win between 23 and 24 per cent in Sunday's first round.
Emmanuel Macron (Photo: AFP)
 Emmanuel Macron (Photo: AFP)

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen will contest the second round of the French presidential election, initial projections suggested Sunday, after a nailbiting vote seen as vital for the future of the European Union.

Mr Macron was projected to win between 23 and 24 per cent in Sunday's first round, slightly ahead of National Front leader Le Pen with between 21.6 and 23 per cent, according to estimates on public television.

 

The outcome capped an extraordinary few months for a deeply divided France, which saw a campaign full of twists and turns and a movement away from traditional parties.

The French vote was being closely watched as a bellwether for populist sentiment following the election of Donald Trump as US President and Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

Le Pen and Macron were the pre-vote favourites to progress to the run-off on May 7 but late gains by conservative Francois Fillon and radical leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon had blown the race wide open.

The vote took place under heavy security after the killing on Thursday of a policeman on Paris's Champs Elysees avenue claimed by the Islamic State group.

 

With France still under the state of emergency imposed after the Paris attacks of November 2015, around 50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers were deployed to guard voters.    

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