According to Reuters, three separate projections show that former finance minister Emmanuel Macron will defeat nationalist Marine LePen in the French presidential election.
The margin of victory appears to be substantial, with Macron running about 30 points ahead of Le Pen in exit polling.
Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on Sunday with a business-friendly vision of European integration, defeating Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist who threatened to take France out of the European Union, early projections showed.
The centrist’s emphatic victory, which also smashed the dominance of France’s mainstream parties, will bring huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain’s vote to quit the EU and Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president.
The 39-year-old former investment banker, who served for two years as economy minister but has never previously held elected office, will now become France’s youngest leader since Napoleon with a promise to transcend outdated left-right divisions.
Three projections, issued within minutes of polling stations closing at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), showed Macron beating Le Pen by around 65 percent to 35 – a gap wider than the 20 or so percentage points that pre-election surveys had pointed to.
Even so, it was a record performance for the National Front, a party whose anti-immigrant policies until recently made it a pariah in French politics, and underlined the scale of the divisions that he must try to heal.
Le Pen’s high-spending, anti-globalisation ‘France-first’ policies may have unnerved financial markets but they appealed to many poorer members of society against a background of high unemployment, social tensions and security concerns.
The 48-year-old’s share of the vote was set to be almost twice that won by her father Jean-Marie, the last National Front candidate to qualify for a presidential runoff, who was trounced by Jacques Chirac in 2002.
The narrative has been set for weeks: “Populism goes down to crushing defeat,” or “Far-right wacko loses in France,” or even “Trumpism defeated in France.”
I’ve got one for you: “To no one’s surprise, biased media wins French election.”
So the entire media establishment all over Europe and most of the U.S. sets out to portray the nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen as an extremist, a far-right nut job, an anti-Semite, an Islamophobe … and 35% of the voters still choose her over the “centrist” Macron?
There was unrelenting media hostility toward Le Pen with reporters showing absolutely no hesitation in choosing sides — and the results were somehow in doubt? Who are they trying to kid?
Macron should send a thank you note to every single reporter in France who made it impossible for Le Pen to get a fair hearing by the voters. She was vilified from one end of the country to the other. That she managed to mount a serious challenge to Macron is amazing considering what she was up against.
As for Macron, he must now try and fashion a victory for his brand new party during next month’s parliamentary elections. No doubt his win in the presidential election will give his party the necessary momentum to win a majority of the vote.