Final results of France’s presidential vote from the first round released on Monday show pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron on 24.01 per cent and far-right leader Marine Le Pen at 21.30 per cent.
The results reflect only slight changes over the previous results from Sunday’s vote, in which the two candidates qualified for a May 7 run-off.
Scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon finished third with 20.01 percent followed by Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon on 19.58 per cent.
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Hollande urges French voters to block Le Pen
French President Francois Hollande on Monday urged voters to reject far-right leader Marine Le Pen in next month’s presidential runoff against pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron.
Macron is the clear favourite to become France’s youngest-ever president after topping yesterday’s first round of voting with 24.01 percent of votes, ahead of National Front (FN) leader Le Pen on 21.30 percent, according to final results.
The vote revealed a country deeply divided, with 39-year-old Macron, an advocate of open borders and free trade, leading the vote in cities and Le Pen topping the polls in rural areas that feel left behind by globalisation.
In a solemn address to voters, Hollande warned of the “risk for our country” of a far-right victory and said he himself would vote for Macron, who served as his economy minister for two years.
The Socialist president joined a long line of politicians urging voters to back Macron in order to thwart the anti-immigration, anti-EU Le Pen.
Le Pen seized on the flurry of endorsements for Macron from the ruling Socialists and main opposition Republicans— both of which crashed out in the first round—as proof he was the choice of the discredited old guard.
Visiting a market in the northern town of Rouvroy on Monday, 48-year-old Le Pen lashed out at the “rotten old republican front”—the ad-hoc anti-FN coalition formed by mainstream parties whenever the party is at the gates of power.
“I’ve come here to start the second round campaign in the only way I know—on the ground with the French people,” she said. Macron received several congratulatory calls on Monday from European leaders relieved to find him in pole position.
Thanking Hollande in a tweet for his support, the former investment banker called on the French to “remain true to France’s values” in the May 7 runoff.