Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen appear to be the main candidates after the first round of France’s presidential election, an analysis of early results shows, setting up a rematch of the 2017 contest.
Macron appears poised to garner 28.6% of the vote, putting him in first place, according to an analysis by pollster IFOP-Fiducial for French broadcasters TF1 and LCI. Le Pen is on track for second place with 23.9%.
Twelve candidates were running for the highest office in the country. If neither of them receives more than 50% of the vote, the two main candidates will meet in a second round on April 24. But a second round is almost guaranteed: no French presidential candidate has ever won in the first round under the current system.
The race was marked by voter apathy, with 25% of all eligible voters abstaining, according to IFOP-Fiducial. That makes the turnout the lowest for a first round in 20 years.
Macron is seeking to become the first French president to win re-election since Jacques Chirac in 2002. While polls have given him a consistent lead over the field, the contest narrowed significantly last month.
Polls before the vote showed that a Macron run-off against Le Pen was the most likely outcome. Macron comfortably beat Le Pen five years ago, but pundits have said a second contest between the two would be much closer than the 2017 race.
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