Sunday's Vote 'Humiliated' French Party Politics

2 outsiders will compete in runoff vote
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2017 4:50 AM CDT
Updated Apr 24, 2017 6:34 AM CDT
2 Outsiders Will Battle for French Presidency
A montage of French national newspaper front pages reporting on the winners of the first round of the French presidential election.   (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

The election results in France are now final, confirming the political earthquake that has just taken place: Centrist Emmanuel Macron took 23.8% of votes in the first round, with 21.5% for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, the BBC reports. The two candidates will compete for the presidency in a runoff election May 7—and for the first time, neither contender is from one of the country's main parties. Conservative Francois Fillon will miss the runoff after getting 19.9%. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon got 19.6%, while Benoit Hamon from the ruling Socialist party got just 6.4%. A roundup of coverage:

  • Reuters reports that Macron's pro-business, pro-European Union positions made him the favored candidate of financial markets, and they reacted with sharp gains early Monday, sending the euro to its highest point against the dollar this year.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that polls suggest that Macron will easily win the second-round vote—but it could be complicated by the fact that almost 50% of voters supported anti-EU candidates.

  • The Guardian describes the result as "a humiliation for modern French party politics of left and right," with Macron's first-place finish a sign of hope that he will prevail over Le Pen's National Front party, which represents "bigotry, hatred, and nationalism of the worst kind."
  • The BBC reports that Macron, who stepped down as the ruling party's economics minister to form his own En Marche party, has promised to cut corporation tax and step up the move to renewable energy. Le Pen has promised to hold a referendum on the EU, cut immigration, and close "extremist" mosques. Unlike her rival, she has promised to protect the 35-hour work week.
  • The AP reports that mainstream parties are urging voters to support Macron, though Mélenchon has yet to do so, and the National Front says it believes it can win the support of some of his voters. "The voters who voted for Mr. Mélenchon are angry voters. They can be in agreement with us," says a party official.
  • Don't expect a Brexit or Trump-style surprise in France, Nate Silver writes at FiveThirtyEight. He notes that polls give Macron a 26-point lead, much bigger than anything seen before the Brexit and Trump votes. "She could beat her polls by as much as Trump and Brexit combined and still lose to Macron by almost 20 points," he writes.
  • Vanity Fair predicts "two weeks of hell" ahead during campaigning in France as Le Pen tries to "stoke fear and division" to boost her chances.
(More France stories.)

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