Emmanuel Macron will win the French presidential election, beating back a fierce challenge from far-right rival Marine Le Pen, according to The Associated Press.
Polling agencies Opinionway, Harris and Ifop projected that President Macron is slated to earn between 57% and 58.5% of the vote to Le Pen’s 41.5 and 43%.
If the final results are borne out, Macron — a centrist who built the La République En Marche political party — would be the first French president to secure a second term in office since Jacques Chirac’s successful reelection bid in 2002.
After the projections were announced, Le Pen, of the National Rally party, addressed her supporters in Paris and conceded to Macron. She then said that the showing represented a “victory” for her movement.
“The French showed this evening a desire for a strong counterweight against Emmanuel Macron, for an opposition that will continue to defend and protect them,” she said, according to Reuters.
In 2017, Macron defeated Le Pen by a wide 66.1% to 33.9% margin. But since that contest, she had sought to soften her image and fought hard to earn support in many of the country’s rural outposts that have been battered by economic changes over the last few decades.
While Le Pen was dealt her second consecutive loss to Macron, the final margin of victory among the electorate is projected to be much narrower, with some voters having been more receptive to Le Pen’s nationalist party as it has rebranded itself to gain wider appeal.
Macron, who did not campaign extensively before the first round of voting, ramped up his operation in advance of Sunday’s runoff election.
The incumbent president highlighted his stewardship of the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, while also pointing to economic gains throughout the country during his tenure. He also touted his political moderation, which he believes has been critical to the stability of France.
This report was published on Insider