Macron victory in first round of French election

24 Apr 17

French stocks have surged today on the back of pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the first round of voting for the French presidential election.

web_emmanuelmacron_shutterstock_618031208.jpg

Emmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate. Shutterstock 618031208

Emmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate. Shutterstock

 

Macron, who won the largest share of yesterday’s vote (23.75%), and Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National, who secured 21.53% of the vote, now qualify for the second and final round of voting in an election that has redrawn the lines of French politics.

Europe and investors worldwide are pleased to see Macron remain in the race. He is widely seen as the best candidate to stand against the anti-EU Le Pen, with polls suggesting he will beat her by a comfortable margin, and his policies have broad appeal.

The euro rose to a five-month high last night and is up by around 1% this morning, while an index of the largest French companies jumped to its highest level since April 2015.

Meanwhile, the relief from EU leaders was reflected in a decision to break a tradition of refraining from commenting on ongoing elections.

A chief European Commission spokesperson tweeted that the EU executive’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, had congratulated Macron on the vote’s outcome and wished him luck for the future.

 

 

The French elections are seen as the next clinch point in a bid from Europe’s populist, far-right parties to ride a wave of anti-establishment sentiment to win greater power.

Le Pen enjoys some of the broadest support of the bloc’s far right, and was widely tipped to qualify for the second round. She is a staunch nationalist, who is anti-migration and has promised to give French people priority for jobs and housing. She also wants to take the country out of the EU and single currency.

As well as marking a significant change of direction in French politics, a win for Le Pen could represent a serious threat to the future of the bloc and European project.

But in the second round, voters’ rejection of the establishment boosted Macron as well as Le Pen. He is the youngest ever French presidential candidate, has never run in an election before and is running as a self-styled liberal centrist, independent of any party, whose politics are “neither left nor right”.

Yesterday’s vote marks the first time since the post-war period that both the traditional left and right ruling parties have been knocked out in the first round of voting.

The scandal-hit Republican candidate Francois Fillon, a former prime minister accused of using taxpayers’ money to employ his family, and socialist candidate Benoít Hamon, have appealed for voters to back Macron in order to block Le Pen. This likely cements Macron’s chances as endorsements from losing candidates are seen as critical in the final round.

Le Pen and Macron will now continue to campaign until a few days before the next round of voting on 7 May.

Parliamentary elections, which can make or break a president’s power, will follow in June. 

  • Emma Rumney

    Emma is a reporter at Cooking Recipes International. She also writes for in the UK.

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