France’s centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is set to face off against far right candidate Marine Le Pen on May 7, with the majority of ballots counted in Sunday’s first-round presidential vote.
With 97 per cent of votes tallied at 7:30 am (0530 GMT) Monday, Macron had won 23.9 per cent of the vote, to Le Pen’s 21.4 per cent, according to statistics provided by the French Interior Ministry.
The partial results showed both candidates ahead of conservative Francois Fillon (19.9 per cent) and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon (19.6 per cent). France now appears set for a face-off between two polar opposites: the liberal, pro-European Macron, a 39-year-old former economy minister, and Le Pen, 48, who rails against immigration and promises a referendum on pulling out of the EU.
On Sunday, Macron won the backing of his defeated socialist and conservative rivals, but radical leftist Melenchon said he would poll his followers about what stance to take.
With ballots not yet completely counted, Le Pen has already won the highest number of votes ever cast for her National Front party, at 7.7 million, ahead of the party’s previous high of 6.8 million votes in 2015.
Voter participation was at 78 per cent in Sunday’s election, authorities said.
Apr 24, 2017
Scores arrested in violent Paris election night protests
PARIS AFP April24, 2017 - Police said Monday they arrested more than 100 people after election night unrest in Paris, with protesters hurling bottles at security forces, torching cars and smashing shop windows. Six police officers and three protesters were slightly injured in the violence in central Paris, police said, adding that 143 people were arrested, with 29 held overnight. Hundreds of youths gathered to protest against far-right leader Marine Le Pen and former banker Emmanuel Macron, who both qualified Sunday for the May 7 run-off in France’s two-stage presidential election.