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Macron, Le Pen headed to runoff in France

By CONAL URQUHART in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-04-24 04:31

Macron, Le Pen headed to runoff in France

Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, celebrates after partial results in the first round of 2017 French presidential election, at the Parc des Expositions hall in Paris, France, April 23, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will enter the second round of the French presidential election on May 7, according to a preliminary sample of all the votes cast.

Macron won 23-24 percent of the vote and Le Pen 21-23 percent, according to the survey. The sample is survey of actual votes cast in around 200 polling stations. The numbers are tallied and then fed through a computer program to provide a result that is normally within one percent of the final result.

If the sample proves correct, it means that neither the Socialist Party nor the Republican Party will contend the second round for the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic, the French political era which began in 1958.

Macron welcomed the preliminary result. "Today, the people of France have spoken. As our country confronts an unprecedented moment in its history, it has responded in the best way possible - by voting in huge numbers. It has decided to place me first in this first round," he said.

The defeated candidates called on their supporters to back Macron against Le Pen. Francois Fillon said: "Extremism can only bring unhappiness and division to France. There is no other choice than to vote against the far right. I will vote for Emmanuel Macron. I consider it my duty to tell you this frankly. It is up to you to reflect on what is best for your country, and for your children."

Speaking at her headquarters in northern France, Le Pen said: "The choice now is between a wild globalization, a world in which terrorists can travel free, and a France with strong borders. What I offer you is a true alternative, the renewal to which you aspire. The heir to François Hollande can't bring this change.

"It is time to free the French people from the arrogant elite. I am the candidate of the people. I call all patriots wherever they come from, whatever their origin, to join me. What's at stake is France's survival."

Macron will be the favorite as most voters will unite around him to stop a Le Pen victory. But the Front National has a seasoned political machine and Macron's En Marche party is very inexperienced.

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