French election live: Emmanuel Macron beats Marine Le Pen to be re-elected president, projections show | French presidential election 2022

Macron re-elected French president, according to projections

Emmanuel Macron has defeated his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen in the second round of France’s presidential elections, projections show.

According to usually accurate estimates, the incumbent scored between 57.6% and 58.2% of the vote, against 42.4% to 41.8% for the Rassemblement National (National Rally) leader.

Updated at 14.15 EDT

Macron’s economy minister Bruno Le Maire is speaking now from the Champ de Mars, while Macron’s supporters wait for the newly re-elected president to appear:

This is very good news for the majority, for the president of the Republic. The French have made a clear choice which gives a solid mandate to Emmanuel Macron and his future majority for the next five years.

The main thing for me is to get back to work as soon as possible. There is a lot to do on inflation, on the economy. Basically, reindustrialisation. We must also hear what so many voters said on the environment. We must move faster in the fight against global warming.

Le maire also promises Macron’s second term “will be different. We are determined to hear those who abstained, those who spoiled their ballots, to provide them with the most concrete answers possible, as soon as possible”.

Eric Zemmour, Le Pen’s far-right rival in the first round, observes that this is “the eighth time that defeat strikes the Le Pen name” but says it is “not inevitable” that the forces of nationalism lose every election.

He says his movement will be at the forefront of the fight, but urges a “grand union” of the patriotic right ahead of the parliamentary elections.

“Two major blocs are organising, the radical left and the centre, and the nationalist bloc must also unite. Our responsibility is immense. It is indispensable. It is our duty.”

Macron’s supporters are celebrating wildly on the Champs de Mars. His victory speech is expected at around 9pm local time.

And… Macron gets reelected.
The 🇫🇷 president has won a second term in office, according to initial projections by pollster IPSOS with 58.2 percent, compared to 41.8 percent for his opponent, far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

— Elisa Braün (@ElisaBraun) April 24, 2022

Updated at 14.44 EDT

Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father and the former leader of what was then the Front National who lost by a landslide to Jacques Chirac in 2002, watches the news of his daughter’s defeat “without comment, his face expressionless”, according to Aurélie Lebelle of Le Parisien:

Mujtaba Rahman, Europe director of the EurasiaGroup consultancy, says this is a “great victory” for Macron, France and Europe, more comprehensive than the polls predicted, that will give him momentum running up to the parliamentary elections in June:

This is a great triumph for Emmanuel Macron, in all the circiumstances: a victory for Europe, a victory for democracy and above all a victory for France 1/2

— Mujtaba (Mij) Rahman (@Mij_Europe) April 24, 2022

Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate defeated by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, warns of trouble ahead for Macron if he does not take into account the nature of his victory:

I think that the French have been deprived of a true choice. It would be a serious mistake on the part of Emmanuel Macron to consider that this re-election means that he can continue carrying out the same policy, in the same manner, for the next five years.

Updated at 14.35 EDT

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the radical left leader who could play a crucial part in the upcoming parliamentary election, is speaking now:

Madame Le Pen has been beaten. France has clearly refused to entrust its future to her, and this is very good news for the unity of our people.

However, Emmanuel Macron has become the most poorly elected president of the Fifth Republic. His victory is floating in an ocean of abstentions and spoiled ballots.

The ‘third round’ is now under way and it is essential that the united forces of the left – the new Popular Union – secures a majority in the national assembly.

Updated at 14.32 EDT

Le Pen says the fight continues

Marine Le Pen is talking now, denouncing “two weeks of unfair tactics” since the first round.

We would of course have liked the result to be different. With more than 43% of the vote, this represents a striking victory. Millions of our compatriots have chosen the Rassemblement National.

We are more determined than ever. I have no resentment. We will not forget the France that is forgotten. The ideas that we represent have reached new heights. In this defeat, I can’t help but feel a hope.

Dismissing reports that she planned to retire if she did not win, she says she will “continue my commitment to France and to the French”, adding that “in a few weeks, the parliamentary elections will take place. This is not yet over. We declare the battle for parliament open.”

Updated at 14.23 EDT

Clément Beaune, Macron’s Europe minister, is among the first to react:

This is a clear victory, the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a president has been re-elected when he also has a majority in parliament. It’s important, it’s very important, because this was a political combat, a political combat against the far right.

Updated at 14.49 EDT

That’s a 16 percentage point difference for Emmanuel Macron, more than the biggest winning margin predicted by any of the pre-election polls.

Macron re-elected French president, according to projections

Emmanuel Macron has defeated his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen in the second round of France’s presidential elections, projections show.

According to usually accurate estimates, the incumbent scored between 57.6% and 58.2% of the vote, against 42.4% to 41.8% for the Rassemblement National (National Rally) leader.

Updated at 14.15 EDT

Fifteen minutes to go and the tension is, well, climbing.

The result will also be being watched closely around Europe. A Le Pen victory would throw the EU into turmoil, as the Guardian’s Jennifer Rankin and I argued in this article:

Much of what the far-right leader does want to do – on the economy, social policy and immigration – implies breaking the EU’s rules, and her possible arrival in the Élysée Palace could prove calamitous for the 27-member bloc.

Le Pen may have dropped previous pledges to take France – a founder member of the EU, its second-biggest economy and half of the vital Franco-German engine that has powered it since its creation – out of the euro single currency and the bloc.

In the 2017 election, fears of the economic consequences of that policy, above all among older voters worried about their savings, are widely seen as having contributed to her heavy second-round defeat against the pro-European Emmanuel Macron.

This time, the EU does not even feature by name among the dozen or so key themes of her electoral programme. Many of her concrete policy proposals, however, blatantly contradict the obligations of EU membership.

Opponents and commentators have called the strategy “Frexit in all but name”: an approach that, while it may no longer aim to remove France from the bloc, seeks to fundamentally refashion it, and that could lead to a paralysing standoff with Brussels.

You can see read our full story here:

Updated at 13.59 EDT

Most polling stations are now closed and we’ll be getting the initial estimates of the result in about half a hour now.

A reminder that these are not exit polls, but projections based on actual votes cast in a representative selection of polling stations around the country, that are then weighted by the pollsters to give a national estimate of vote share.

These estimates are historically very accurate indeed, so we can be pretty confident about the final result if there is anything more than a one percentage point difference between the contenders.

Three major polling organisations are now predicting a 28% abstention rate, which would be the highest in France since 1969, reflecting the unhappinessof many voters with the choice they are being offered (and the fact that it’s the Easter holidays in much of the country).

It’s hard to say which candidate would be most impacted by a low national turnout, because the regional breakdown would be decisive. The real concern is for after the vote, because being elected on a low turnout would inevitably lead to questions about the legitimacy of the incoming president.

Worth noting, though, that in many western democracies a 72% turnout would be considered high.

French citizens overseas are voting today, too, and the Guardian’s Matt Weaver has been talking to some of the 116,595 of them who are registered to vote in London.

After spending three hours speaking to dozens of voters, Matt says he “could not find a single voter for the far-right candidate” – perhaps hardly surprising given that in 2017 Macron won 95% of the second-round vote in London.

Michelle Pickard, a French teacher, said:

The first priority is to block Le Pen, but I quite approve of Macron’s policy, and he is a true European and I am too. If he wins it will be a small victory, and he will have to take onboard all these voters who are not happy with him.

Christian Eskenazi, a retired chief sommelier, was less enthusiastic about the incumbent:

I find him too arrogant, but I’m pro-European and anti-Le Pen so I had to go for him. It was not a vote for a politician, it was a vote against an idea. My mother survived Auschwitz but she saw her mother and father die there. She spent her life visiting schools as a witness against racism and xenophobia. She warned of the dangers of voting for the far right, and the danger is still there.

You can read Matt’s full story here:

Updated at 13.09 EDT

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