Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen set for French election run-off

  • Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen set for French election run-off

Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen set for French election run-off

With Ms Le Pen wanting France to leave the European Union, and Mr Macron proposing even closer co-operation between the bloc's 28 nations, the outcome of the first round of voting on Sunday after a wildly unpredictable and tense campaign means the run-off will have undertones of a referendum on France's European Union membership.

In short, yes, Macron is far and away the favorite to win the second round, but Le Pen hasn't lost quite yet.

With 90 per cent of the ballots counted from Sunday's first round, Macron has garnered 23.5 per cent of the vote, while Le Pen has 22.08 per cent, Efe news reported. "Their desire for change too", the 39-year-old Macron, a former economy minister, told thousands of cheering supporters in Paris.

With 46 million votes tallied so far - out of a total 47 million - figures from the interior ministry put Macron, a pro-European former economy minister, winning 23.82 percent in the first round and Le Pen 21.58 percent.

Melenchon refused to cede defeat. The early vote count includes primarily rural constituencies that lean to the right, while urban areas that lean left are counted later.

And endorsements from mainstream parties could also work against Macron in a country where the divide between "haves" and "have nots" has been pushing up support year after year for Le Pen's message that only she can defend French workers' jobs and rights.

"The main thing at stake in this election is the rampant globalization that is endangering our civilization", she added while calling herself "the candidate for the people".

He insisted that he wanted to "unite" the French people and that he would be the "president of the patriots in the face of the nationaists' threat". Le Pen wants to print money to finance expanded welfare payments and tax cuts, ditch the euro currency and possibly pull out of the EU.

Riot police had to use tear gas to disperse protesters in Paris. Urging hope in a future with Europe instead of fear - a reference to Le Pen's anti-European Union campaign - he declared: "The challenge is to open a new page of our political life".

Macron says his party will field candidates in all 577 constituencies, but he has also made clear that he will welcome those from other parties who share his views.

"The Front National has a history known for its violence and intolerance: there is no other choice, I will vote in favour of Emmanuel Macron".

His deregulation policies, she said, would lead to unjust worldwide competition against France's business interests, mass immigration and free movement of terrorists.

Throughout the campaign, Macron insisted that France was "contrarian" - ready to elect a pro-globalisation liberal at a time when rightwing nationalists are making gains across the world.

While Ms Le Pen has always been seen as likely to make the second round, Emmanuel Macron's rise has been swift. Despite not having a major party backing him, he's captured a large portion of France's moderate voters. The leader of the Socialist Party, Benoit Hamon, and his number two have already endorsed Macron, saying that Le Pen will destroy France and warning voters that she and her allies are racist to the bone.

Voting took place amid heightened security in the first election under France's state of emergency, which has been in place since gun-and-bomb attacks in Paris in 2015.