Against Expectations, Le Pen Didn’t Win. Macron Will Be the Next President of France

So there we have it. The provisional results are in. Emmanuel Macron has won the first round of the French Presidential election and will face up against Marine Le Pen and her fiercely loyal Front National in the second round on May 7th.

The first results to come in showed Macron winning by two percentage points at 23.7%, closely followed by Marine Le Pen at 21.7%

It is hardly say a surprise, despite the media hubbub about how unpredictable this election has been thus far. It has to be said, Fillon's surprising come back and Melenchon's triumphant surge both caused the bookies to reconsider as today approached.

For weeks now, I've been talking with French people and generally coming to the conclusion that a Macron/Le Pen second round clash is inevitable. I was, however totally convinced that Le Pen would win by some distance tonight, yet to my great pleasure, I was proved wrong. Emmanuel Macron has surprised pundits everywhere by winning the first round - provisionally at least - by several percentage points.

Now we've got the results, the question remains of what happens next? The two clear winners will pass through to the second round, where French voters will have to choose between one of the two candidates on May 7th, or of course, abstain.

Back in 2002 when Jacques Chirac found himself face to face with Jean-Marie Le Pen in the second round, all the other candidates told their supporters to side with Chirac and cooperate to effectively vote against Le Pen. We have to hope that the same thing will happen this year. It is generally expected that the other candidates will call upon their supporters to vote for one of the two candidates after accepting their defeat.

there is no other choice than to vote for Emmanuel Macron

Benoît Hamon of the Parti Socialiste was the first of the unsuccessful candidates to come out with his concession speech, saying: "We have to defeat the National Front and we have to vote for Emmanuel Macron. Even if he isn't a man of the left, I make a distinction between a political adversary and an enemy of the Republic."

Meanwhile, some of the smaller conservative candidates have told their supporters to vote for Macron, as well as François Hollande's Prime Minsiter, Bernard Cazeneuve.

François Fillon was the second main candidate to speak out following the result. As the only other right-wing candidate amongst the top five, Fillon and his voters had to be considered as the main threat. If Fillon were to call upon his supporters to side with Le Pen in the second round, we could be looking at a serious risk of a Le Pen victory in two weeks time.

Given her 21-23% support and his 19-20% there wouldn't be much room to breathe for France and the future of Europe.

Thankfully, Fillon has put an end to the speculation and spoken to his supporters. In what must have been a difficult acceptance of defeat, given his early touting as an easy winner, he said there is no other choice than to vote for Emmanuel Macron.

Despite initially suggesting he wouldn't come out for one of the two candidates, he revealed that he would personally be voting for Macron and suggested that his followers listen to their conscience. Clearly implying they do the same and choose the non-Le Pen option. Macron supporters clapped him at their HQ.

Despite Fillon's around about pledge of support for Macron, some of his supporters will undeniably vote for Le Pen in the second round. However, even though these people are traditional conservatives, there is a big difference between that and agreeing with the hateful policies of the far-right. The vast majority of his voters will bite the bullet and side with Macron.

Macron will go on to be the next president of France in two weeks time

Following the primary French media coverage, they appear to have reached the consensus that Macron will go on to be the next president of France in two weeks time.

Le Pen was the next to speak from her National Front stronghold in Hénin-Beaumont. Rather predictably, she spoke about how this year represented a historic victory for her party and how she was fighting to defend French patriotism. Painting herself as a victim, she claimed that the media had tried to choke the debate and defiantly declared her intention to fight Macron until the end.

For anyone who has taken an interest in the French election and generally believed that, although Le Pen might win the first round, Macron would triumph in the end, tonight has to be taken as a positive. Don't despair, everyone expected Le Pen to win tonight. And by some margin.

The fact that Macron has won this first round, coupled with the pledges of support from 2/3 of his other main candidates thus far (Melenchon will almost certainly side with Macron) should be incredibly reassuring. Marine Le Pen only won just over 20% of the vote, she gave everyone a scare, but fear not, Emmanuel Macron will become the youngest French president ever in two weeks time.  


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About the author

Despite sharing the company of Rimbaud, Voltaire and co. for the third year in a row, Alec's real passion lies in writing. When the French degree permits it, he can be found scribbling away for a variety of publications, including The Spectator's Coffee House blog, Spiked-Online and - oh, how could he forget? - Disclaimer Mag!

A self-professed bon vivant, Alec is currently busy sunning himself in the South of France, whilst gleefully perusing the bountiful array of vin on offer. He's also been known to dabble in unscrupulous cheese-pairing. 

Follow Alec on Twitter.

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