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French Runoff Election Will Be Between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen


French President Emmanuel Macron will once again face Marine Le Pen in the nation’s runoff presidential election.

In Sunday’s election, Macron received 27.8 percent of the vote and Le Pen took 23.2 percent, according to the Interior Ministry.

Since none of the 12 candidates received over 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will take place on April 24.

Le Pen is a right-wing populist heavily focused on stopping uncontrolled immigration. She has ran for president twice before.

“Overall, the far-right veteran, fighting her third presidential campaign, scored highest among voters aged 25-34, at 30 percent, and those 35-49 (28 percent), according to a Harris Interactive survey,” AFP reports. “Macron did best only among voters aged 50 and older, though that demographic is historically more likely to go to the polls.”

This time around, Le Pen focused heavily on inflation and rising fuel prices.

Macron easily won the 2017 runoff election against Le Pen — 66 percent to 33 percent — but polls this time around are showing a much closer race.

“This time, a series of polls have suggested Macron would win 51 to 54 percent against 46 to 49 percent for Le Pen, with margins of error making a Le Pen victory possible,” Yahoo News reports.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal told France Inter radio on Monday that, “this election, we’re going to have to go out and earn it, because it’s not a done deal.”

“Le Pen’s image is very different from the one she had in 2017. She seems much less extreme and more acceptable to a large part of the French population,” bank ING analysts said while warning that markets may face volatility until the election, according to a report from France 24.

Amid the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Macron has strongly supported European Union sanctions against Moscow while Le Pen has openly questioned if they are harming the French standard of living.

Le Pen has also vowed to leave the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), “so as to be no longer caught up in conflicts that are not ours.”

Jean-Luc Melenchon, a leftist candidate who came in third, said that “not a single vote should go” to Le Pen in the runoff, but stopped short of telling his voters to rally for Macron.

According to multiple polls, Melenchon’s supporters are sharply divided. One-third of them say they will vote Macron, but another one-third said they would move to Le Pen. The final third have indicated that they plan to abstain.

Macron and Le Pen will square off in a televised debate next week.

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