Macron and Le Pen Both Improve Vote Shares in First Round, Presidential Decider in Two Weeks

Top candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen both improved their vote shares on Sunday night over their previous 2017 performances, and the pair will face off again in 13 days’ time to decide who will be the next President of France.

While Sunday’s first-round vote for the Presidential election saw the lowest turnout in 20 years with over 25 per cent of registered French deciding to stay at home, the leading candidates all increased their vote shares at the expense of minor parties. With 97 per cent of the vote counted per the French interior ministry, globalist-centralist, former socialist party cabinet minister Emmanuel Macron took 27.6 per cent in the first round (2017: 24%), national-populist conservative Marine Le Pen took 23.4 per cent (2017: 21.3%), and hard-left Jean-Luc Melenchon 21.9 per cent (2017: 19.5%).

All candidates except the top two from this round are now knocked out, and a  head-to-head will take place next, in two weeks. Legacy establishment parties performed particularly poorly, with former giants of the establishment like The Republicans (Presidents De Gaulle 1965, Chirac 1995, Sarkozy 2007) getting just 4.8 per cent, and the Socialists (Presidents Mitterand 1981, Hollande 2012) a humiliating 1.7 per cent.

The result means the next round of the Presidential election on Sunday, April 24th will be a direct re-run of the 2017 election, with Macron facing off against Le Pen entering the contest in first and second places respectively from the previous round, just as last time. This is the first time since the 1974-1981 elections the French people have had the same choice between two leaders for President in two votes in a row.

Normally failing opposition candidates tend to fall by the wayside, but in Le Pen’s case, she has increased her vote share in every election. Sunday’s result was the highest first-round result for her party ever.

As is often the case with a populist challenger, Le Pen faces an uphill struggle to gain enough votes to push out Macron in less than two weeks’ time. As seen with other such votes — like Brexit in the United Kingdom and the Trump election in the United States — foreign leaders intervene to tell voters how they should think in order to please the international community, and domestically otherwise logical allegiances can be torn up to prevent a candidate or outcome that means fundamental change at all costs.

Such moves are already afoot with this election: as Reuters reports, the foreign minister of French EU neighbour Luxembourg has already expressed his concern at a Le Pen victory and told the French how they must vote. Speaking before an EU meeting, he is reported to have said: “I am very worried, I hope that we won’t get Le Pen as French president… It would not only be a break away from the core values of the EU, it would totally change its course. The French need to prevent this.”

To unseat incumbent Emmanuel Macron Le Pen now needs to build a broader coalition of voters, an anti-Macron alliance.

Some of these new alliances have already been called. Right-wing political pundit, writer, and now-ex presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, who at seven per cent polled a distant fourth place of 12 candidates, has already vowed his support for Le Pen in the second round. As reported by Le Figaro, Zemmour ally and spokesman Marion Marechal — who is Marine Le Pen’s niece and former political allysaid the call to their voters to now throw their weight behind Le Pen was unambiguous.

Some have gone the other way, however. The leader of the establishment-right Republicans Valerie Pecresse — who on face value might otherwise be considered to have a slight interest in getting left-globalist Emmanuel Macron out of office — called on her voters to vote for the former socialist cabinet minister for president again in two weeks, rather than support the populist-right Le Pen.

As reported by Breitbart London on Sunday, Pecresse said although she had “strong disagreement” with the Macron government, nevertheless, she would be voting for him “in order to stop Marine Le Pen.”

It may be the case that the call for conservatives to vote left will be cancelled out anyway, as Pecresse’s five per cent support to lend comes in a little under Zemmour’s seven.

While Le Pen clearly faces a considerable battle to take the Presidency, Macron faces his own challenges. The French system appears to work against two-term presidents, with just two having won back-to-back elections in the history of the Fifth Republic (founded 1958), the last being conservative Jacques Chirac from 1995 to 2007.

Compared to some Western election systems, the French presidential has several features that, superficially at the least, give it the impression of being well managed. As reported, acquiring electronic voting machines was blocked from 2008 onwards and the vast majority of ballots in France are paper, hand-counted votes. There are also no mail-in ballots, as the French realised early — in 1975 — that the system was open to fraud.

French voters also have to provide photographic identity documents in order to participate. Among the documents recognised are the passport, driving licence, veteran card, and hunting licence.

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