Emmanuel Macron (En Marche!) completed his extraordinary journey from socialist economy minister to independent centrist President on Sunday, strolling into the Elysée Palace with almost two-thirds of the vote in the second round run-off against the National Front’s Marine Le Pen.
It was a victory anticipated universally by commentators and the opinion polls, which managed to overstate Le Pen’s support, perhaps in part because her weak performance in the final Presidential debate had not fully filtered through into the final surveys.
Macron’s win was, however, marred by a level of abstention that was the highest in a second round Presidential vote since 1969. On top of that more than four million of those who did go to the polling stations expressed their disapproval of the choice on offer by voting ‘blanc’ or ‘nul’, reducing the number of those who expressed a positive opinion to just 66 per cent of registered voters.
Marine Le Pen’s heavy defeat will be a bitter blow for the populist right. Nonetheless with 10.6 million supporters she set new records for the largest number of votes obtained by the Front in any election (surpassing the 2015 regionals) as well as in any Presidential contest (beating the 6.4 million achieved in 2012).
The next challenge for Macron in his crusade to re-make French politics is to secure a majority in June’s two rounds of voting for the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
FRANCE Presidency, 2nd round run-off
7 May 2017
Emmanuel Macron (En Marche!) 20,743,128 or 66.10%
Marine Le Pen (Front National, FN) 10,638,475 or 33.90%
‘Blancs’ 3,021,499 or 6.35%
‘Nuls’ 1,064,225 or 2.24%
Eligible voters 47,568,693
Source: Ministry of the Interior, France: final results as confirmed by the Conseil Constitutionnel (initial data amended). Full official results here.
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