The predictions of the first round of the presidential elections in France are confirmed. Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen will meet again in the second round of the election in two weeks, according to vote estimates released after polling stations closed on Sunday.
Keys to understand the first round of the elections in France: uncertainty and the rise of the extreme rightRELATED
Macron has won the victory in the first round with a percentage of the vote of 28%, according to the work of Ipsos for various French media such as The Parisien. The second candidate and rival in the final round on April 24 is the leader of the National Association, who has obtained 23.2% of the votes. These projections, released after polling stations close, are estimates based on actual votes and are often highly accurate.
Both Macron and Le Pen improve on the 2017 presidential elections. In the case of the far-right leader, she had never obtained such a high percentage of votes in the first round – in 2017, she achieved 21.3% and in 2012 , 17.9%–. This is a new record.
Third place goes to the left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon (France Insumisa), who has been left out of the race for the Elysée on his third attempt, with 21.7% of the vote, according to Ipsos projections. These figures also mean an improvement of the 2017 results of about two points for Melénchon, who had accelerated in the polls in the final stretch of the campaign.
Fourth place goes to the far-right commentator Éric Zemmour (Reconquest), with 7%, while the conservative Valérie Pécresse (The Republicans) falls with only 4.8% of the vote.
The projections also confirm the debacle of the Socialist Party. The candidate Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, remains with 1.7% of the votes, according to Ipsos. The environmentalist candidate Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecology The Greens), has garnered 4.7%.
The candidates of the extreme right forces – Le Pen, Zemmour and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan – bring together almost a third of the votes, 32.3%, according to Ipsos projections.
The Le Pen resistance
Although today all the polls give Macron as the winner on April 24, the distance between the two candidates continues to narrow. The latest polls predict a tighter margin than expected. According to the latest Ifop poll for the TF1 channel, published this Sunday after the elections, the president would achieve his re-election with 51% against the candidate of the National Association (RN), who would obtain 49% of the votes. in his duel with Macron.
The 2017 head-to-head will be repeated again after an atypical campaign, which began marked by the end of the pandemic and which has ended with the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a backdrop. Macron – who delayed the announcement of his official candidacy as long as possible – chose to reduce his participation in the debates and hold a single large rally. In the lead in the polls for months, in recent weeks he had lost points in all the polls while Le Pen closed the gap.
In voting intention polls, Macron reached 30%, but it is considered that his reluctance to get involved in the campaign and the fact that he has defended unpopular reforms – such as delaying the retirement age to 65 years – you have been penalized. In addition, in the final stretch of the campaign, suspicions of favorable treatment by the Government with respect to the consulting firm McKinsey reactivated his image as “president of the rich”. Even so, according to projections, he improves the results compared to the first round of 2017.
In the context of this gray campaign, the polls suggested that abstention would break the historical record. Although the participation has been one of the lowest in a presidential election, at 5:00 p.m. it was still higher than in 2002, when the lowest level of turnout in a first round was recorded.
In the polls for the second round, the far-right leader has increased by up to seven points compared to estimates from a month ago. An Ipsos poll predicts it could also receive around 21% of Mélenchon voters and 25% of Pécresse.
Le Pen – weakened in the fall of 2021 by Zemmour’s entry into the campaign, who stole voters and support from her – has taken advantage of these elections to turn her image around. To this end, she has used a discourse focused on economic and social issues, relegating immigration, Islam and security to the background, although without essentially modifying her program on these issues. At the same time, Zemmour’s outbursts have allowed the candidate of the National Association (former National Front) to appear, by contrast, as more moderate. One more step in the party’s normalization campaign that began in 2011 when she relieved her father of directing her.
“The French people have expressed themselves and I have the honor of qualifying to face the current president”, said Marine Le Pen after knowing the first projections. “All those who have not voted for Macron can join this movement. What is at stake on April 24 is a choice of society and even civilization, ”she added in a wink to the voters of France Insoumise.
Who asks for the vote for Macron and Le Pen
A new phase of the campaign begins now. The solidity of the Republican front against the extreme right will be put to the test. Wait for the impact of the televised debates: in 2017, Marine Le Pen lost six points after a unanimously criticized performance. The declarations of the candidates asking or not to vote for Macron will also set the tone in this regard.
Hidalgo has been the first to ask for the vote for Macron. “I solemnly ask you to vote against the extreme right of Marine Le Pen using Emmanuel Macron’s ballot.” The mayor of Paris has also recognized the seriousness of the crisis in the Socialist Party. “I know how disappointed you are and we will draw the appropriate conclusions”, while she assures that she will continue “using her energy as a politician for a stronger, more beautiful and fairer republican France”.
The candidate of the moderate right, Pécresse, has also asked for the vote against the extreme right, although she has clarified that she is doing so in a personal capacity. “I am deeply concerned about the future of our country, with a far right that has never been so close to winning. I will conscientiously vote for Emmanuel Macron to prevent Marine Le Pen from coming to power and causing chaos,” Pécresse announced minutes after the first results were known. A very different statement from that of his party partner –and primary finalist– Eric Ciotti. On the set of TF1 television, Ciotti has said that, “in a personal capacity”, he will vote “against” Macron.
“I am not the owner of the votes that have been cast in my name,” she clarified, “but I ask the voters who have honored me with their trust to seriously consider in the coming days the disastrous consequences for our country and for generations. future choices of choosing an option other than mine.”
For his part, Mélenchon has announced that “a new page of the struggle” is opening. “You will address it, we will address it, with pride for the work done,” said the left-wing leader, who had announced that this was his last candidacy. He went on to describe the country’s situation as a “state of political emergency” and stated: “We must not give Marine Le Pen a single vote.” He has announced that his 300,000 militants will be called to a referendum to decide the movement’s voting slogans: abstain or vote for Macron.
In his speech after the results were announced, Zemmour announced that he is calling “his voters to vote for Marine Le Pen”, despite “the disagreements” he has had with her during the campaign. “In front of Le Pen there is a man who has brought two million immigrants: I am not going to make the wrong opponent.”
Jadot, the environmentalist candidate, lamented that “ecology is not present in the second round.” “But it should not be absent from the next five years.” Next, the MEP from Europe Ecology-The Greens urged his supporters to vote for the current president. “I call to block the extreme right by putting the ballot for Emmanuel Macron in the polls on April 24. No one should downplay the fundamental threat posed by the far right.”
Although there have been no surprises, the results of this Sunday prolong the political earthquake that the 2017 presidential election entailed. With Macron and Le Pen confirmed as the two main alternatives, these elections have also continued the fall of the large traditional parties, which barely add up to 7% of the votes according to projections.
This decline of the two formations that alternated in power until 2017 augurs a completely new political landscape ahead of the legislative elections that are scheduled for June. In the leftist forces, two blocs are outlined: on the one hand, communists and France Insumisa —who have been in talks in recent weeks— and, on the other, socialists and environmentalists.
Precisely the ecological candidate, Yannick Jadot, began the campaign with the hope of becoming the reference of the progressive forces, after the 2019 European elections, in which Europe Ecology The Greens was the third party with 13.5% of the votes and the municipal elections of 2020, in which he won in several major cities, such as Lyon, Grenoble and Bordeaux. But the truth is that Jadot has never managed to impose his issues in the campaign, despite the fact that the environment is the third concern of the French, according to polls.
The effects of the war in Ukraine, especially the rise in energy and fuel prices, have overshadowed other issues. Neither the publication of the last two reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), nor the marches in favor of climate, nor the issue of energy and food sovereignty raised by the war in Ukraine have managed to give visibility to the ecological questions, absent in the debates and speeches of the two finalists.