French President Emmanuel Macron and populist firebrand Marine Le Pen have set the stage for a head-to-head battle to determine the presidency later this month after emerging as the leaders from Sunday’s first round at the polls.
Projections by polling firms showed that Macron garnered as much as 28.4% of the first-round votes, exceeding the maximum estimate of 24.2% for Le Pen. Socialist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon came in third, at around 21%, while anti-immigration candidate Eric Zemmour finished a distant fourth at 7%.
The first official results from France’s Interior Ministry actually showed Le Pen’s count exceeding Macron’s. However, with tallies from Paris and other urban areas not yet available, the early numbers were likely skewed in Le Pen’s favor. With 84% of the votes counted by the moment of this artile’s publication, Macron was slightly ahead with 27,41% against Le Pen’s 25,41%.