French election: Macron faces far-right challenge from Le Pen as France votes

Credit: @Wehopost, Twitter

Voters cast ballots across France on Sunday in the first round of a presidential election where far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is posing a threat to President Emmanuel Macron’s hopes of re-election.


With undecided voters a crucial issue in the tight race, turnout by midday (1000 GMT) was estimated at 25.5%, down from 28.5% at the same time in 2017, Reuters reports.

Forty-nine million people are eligible to decide which two of 12 candidates should take part in the run-off vote.

But after four hours of voting, only a quarter of voters had turned out – the lowest for 20 years, the BBC reports.

The main challenge to Macron, 44, is coming from Marine Le Pen on the far right and Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the far left.

It is even predicted that the president could lose.

Voting booths close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), when the first, and usually reliable, exit polls will be published.

Polls published before a campaign blackout have suggested that the most likely outcome was an April 24 Macron-Le Pen runoff.

The anti-immigration, eurosceptic Le Pen, 53, has been boosted by a months-long focus on cost of living issues and falling support for her far-right rival, Eric Zemmour.

Philippe Bridou, a former Socialist voter in south-western city of Perpignan, told the BBC he had switched to the far right because “security is important, immigration is important too because it’s a subject now – and the left wing doesn’t discuss it”.

Janebond tweeted: “Crowds greeting Marine Le Pen, never seen anything like this for Macron, the tide is turning.”

And Yellow Vest protesters took to the streets of Paris, and other French cities, chanting “Get out Macron”.


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Fergal MacErlean

Originally from Dublin, Fergal is based on the eastern Costa del Sol and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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