French presidential race: Macron and Le Pen through to second round
Exit polls have shown that Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are through to the next round of the French Presidential election race.
Whilst each poll is slightly different, the BBC has reported that Macron held 28.1 per cent of the votes in the first round, far-right Le Pen scored 23.3 per cent.
Left leaning candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon came third in the race and won about 20 per cent of the votes in France this evening.
Because of tonight’s polling, the second round of the race is now between the two candidates that also battled it out in the 2017 presidential election.
Le Pen is running on a platform of tax cuts to ease the burden on families, while concentrating less on her traditional campaign issues of immigration, security and Euroscepticism.
It has seen her pick up steam in the race, with the National Rally leader telling Reuters that “I’m like the phoenix rising from the ashes”.
She said during a recent campaign visit that reports of an easy Macron victory were “fake news” and that “it is perfectly possible to defeat Emmanuel Macron and radically change the politics of this country”.
Annual inflation is rising in France and hit 4.5 per cent in March, however this is far behind the type of headline figures seen in the UK, US, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
Macron said at his first official election rally that he would hand out a tax-free rebate of up to €6,000 for the country’s workers if re-elected.
“French people who work shouldn’t have to spend their whole salary filling up their petrol tanks and shopping, that’s unfair,” he said.
Warning people to not be complacent in the election, he added: “Look at what happened with Brexit, and so many other elections – what looked improbable actually happened.
“The danger of extremism has reached new heights because, in recent months and years, hatred, and alternative truths have been normalised.”
The French President is also pitting himself as a centrist statesman who is able to counter the forces of extremism in his country.