French election 2017: Macron and Le Pen advance to presidential run off
Emmanuel Macron of the centrist En Marche! movement and Marine Le Pen of the National Front will fight for the French presidency after advancing to the second round of the country's presidential election. Macron won 23.7% of votes in the first round, while Le Pen took 21.5% - the two will run-off on May 7.
24 April 201719:43 GMT
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will temporarily step down as the head of the National Front party to focus on her election campaign in the lead up to the May 7 runoff against centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.
"Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate," Le Pen announced while appearing on French national television news, as cited by the AP.
- 17:01 GMT
Final results from France’s Interior Ministry show Macron won 24.01 percent of votes in Sunday’s election, while Le Pen came in second with 21.30.
- Conservative candidate Francois Fillon: 20.01
- Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon: 19.58
- Socialist Benoit Hamon: 6.36
- Nationalist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan: 4.70
From the smaller parties, Lasalle won 1.21 percent, Philippe Poutou 1.09, François Asselineau 0.92, Nathalie Arthaud 0.64 and Jacques Cheminade 0.18.
- 14:08 GMT
French President Francois Hollande has called on all voters to back Macron.
"I will vote for Emmanuel Macron. Emmanuel Macron is the one who today defends the values that make it possible for the French people to unite," Hollande said Monday in a short speech.
"It is my duty to define once again what I consider to be at stake in this election...The renewed presence of the extreme right poses a risk to our country...Faced with such a risk, it is not possible to be silent. The unity of our nation is at stake," he said.
- 08:56 GMT
Hong Kong stocks rose Monday following the election result, as Macron, the markets’ favored candidate, proceeded to the election run-off.
The Hang Seng index rose 0.4 percent, to 24,139.48, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.6 percent, to 10,107.63 points, Reuters reported.
- 08:52 GMT
Le Pen adviser Jérôme Rivière described the National Front candidate as battling against the pro-EU “open borders” Macron.
“People are fed up... Macron is not talking about France, but about Europe only,” he told the BBC.
“We don’t like the EU, we want to gain our sovereignty back... all we have been saying is we want to go back to this Europe of nations.”
- 08:47 GMT
Florian Philippot, Deputy leader of Le Pen’s National Front, told French media that Macron was “arrogant” and “speaking as if he had won already.”
“Emmanuel is not a patriot. He sold off national companies. He criticised French culture,” he said, adding that his victory dinner was “bling-bling biz.”
Opinion polls from Sunday show Macron defeating Le Pen in the run-off vote.
- 08:29 GMT
The euro rose by two percent as market concern over the currency’s volatility eased following the election result, which fell in line with opinion polls.
“We see markets pricing in some remaining political risk, given the potential for surprises in the next two weeks. Any significant shift toward Le Pen in the polls could dampen investor sentiment due to her anti-euro stance,” analysts at BlackRock investment group said in a statement.
- 08:04 GMT
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it’s vital for France and for Europe that Emmanuel Macron wins May’s presidential run-off.
“It's important for France because he has the courage and the strength to lead the country out of its lethargy,” said Gabriel.
He added that a Le Pen victory would “push Europe deeper into crisis,” while a Macron win would have the opposite effect and signal a “new beginning for Europe.”
- 05:03 GMT
Jean-Robert Raviot, Professor, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Doctor of Political Science, told RT that the fact that no major political party advanced to the run-off indicates a deepening political crisis and signals “a very big need for a new political class.”
“This is a sign of a big crisis in the political system, which shows that first of all that the primary system that has been introduced in 2012 election and in this election does not work,” he told RT, adding that the very narrow results of the first round also point to an increased polarization of French society which is destined “to be divided” after the election.
While the vote could be formally seen as a defeat for mainstream political parties, Raviot argued that Macron, despite striving to portray himself as an independent, is a direct continuation of the French government.
“Macron is seen at the same time as an anti-system candidate, as he wants to present himself as an anti-system candidate, but in a way he is a very systemic candidate, because he is also the candidate of the French government, part of it,” Raviot noted, adding that it is going to become clear “very soon” that “Macron is an incumbent candidate, in fact.”
Speaking on the chances of Marine Le Pen to tip the scales in her favor in the second round, Raviot said that while he believes the prospect of her winning to be unlikely, a lot will depend on the turnout.
“Nothing is predictable. Because everything depends on how many people would go to vote on the 7th of May and it could be that Marine Le Pen would go through, but I think it’s highly improbable.”