Centrist Emmanuel Macron is projected to contest the runoff round of the French presidential election, as per the initial projection of the first round voting held on Sunday. Macron, former economy minister, is estimated to have taken around 23.9 per cent votes while far-right leader Marine Le Pen secured 21.4 per cent votes in her favour. The runoff round will held on May 7. The winner will succeed François Hollande, the outgoing first-term president.
Here are the highlights: (IST)
8:40 am: That’s it for today ! Only one more department remains to be counted and its results won’t have any significant impact on the overall first round result. Macron and Le Pen will battle it out in the final showdown on May 7.
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8. 23 am: With opinion polls giving Macron a big lead heading into the final round, the euro rose two per cent as the centrist presidential candidate has promised to reinforce the country’s commitments to the European Union and euro.
7.25 am: As we wait for the final result, here is a wrap of all the latest development.
Emmanuel Macron, former economy minister, has taken 23.9 per cent of the votes against 21.4 per cent for far-right leader Marine Le Pen, according to initial projections. Both the candidates have qualified for the second-round run off in two weeks times for the French presidency. According to new surveys, Macron is expected to win the runoff by 64 percent to 36. The first round result is being seen as a huge defeat for the two centre-right and centre-left groupings that have dominated French politics for 60 years. Defeated main rivals have urged their loyal supporters to lend their support to Macron in a bid to stop Le Pen, whose anti-immigration and anti-Europe policies they said could bring about a disaster for the country.
3.50 am: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are still in a tight race as 89.7 per cent of the total votes polled have been counted. While Macron has the support of 23.7 per cent voters, Le Pen has garnered 21.9 per cent of the total votes polled.
3.20 am: With 76 percent of the votes counted, France’s Interior Ministry told AP that Macron had 23.3 percent of the vote and Le Pen 22.7 percent. Francois Fillon continued to stand at the third position with 19.8 percent and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon was fourth at 18.8 percent. The last votes to be counted will come from France’s biggest cities, which tend to lean left.
2.50 am: Protesters in France have waved red flags singing “No Marine and No Macron!” in anger at the results of first-round presidential election.
2.30 am: Paris police detain three people in election night protests as they burned cars, danced around bonfires and dodged riot police. While police and protesters clashed at the Place de la Bastille, no injuries have been reported yet, a Paris police official told AP.
2.00 am: Acknowledging public’s widespread anger at traditional parties, centrist Macron (39), who has never held elected office, promised “new transformations” in French politics.
1.45 am: Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel expressed his confidence on Emmanuel Macron’s win. According to German news agency dpa, he said, “I’m sure that he will become the new French president.” Gabriel also added that Macron was “the only pro-European candidate who didn’t hide behind prejudices against Europe.”
1.30 am: Melenchon refuses to concede defeat. While 50 per cent of the vote counted put him in fourth place, he said he would wait for the results. Cities where Melenchon has support arent included in the tally yet.
1.25 am: 50 per cent votes have been counted so far. Le Pen is still in the lead followed by Macron. Conservative candidate Francois Fillon was third in the race and French far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon stood fourth.
01.15 am: For the first time in modern French history, the May 7 runoff will be without a mainstream political candidate. 34 per cent votes have been counted so far. Marine Le Pen is leading with 24.6 per cent followed by Emmanuel Macron with 21.9 per cent.
12.50 am: So far out of 19.1 per cent of the vote counted, the Interior Ministry said Le Pen was leading with 25 percent followed by Macron with 21.3 per cent. The early vote count includes primarily rural constituencies that lean to the right, while urban areas that lean left are counted later, reports AP. Polling agency predictions however suggested 23 and 24 per cent lead for Macron, followed by 21 and 23 per cent for Le Pen.
12.40 am: Partial official results indicate Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron leading. The two will head to the May 7 runoff, after rivals conceded defeat.
12.20 am: Protesters break into a scuffle with Paris police after news that Le Pen is advancing the French presidential runoff. The police use tear gas to disperse an increasingly rowdy crowd reportedly on the Place de la Bastille in eastern Paris. Le Pen’s opposition is a result of her anti-immigration policies and her party’s past tainted by racism and anti-Semitism.
12.10 am: French Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon concedes defeat in presidential election, reports The Associated Press.
12.05 am: French prime minister asks voters to reject Le Pen in runoff and instead vote for Emmanuel Macron.
11.45 pm: Polling agency predictions suggest lead for centrist Macron and far-right leader Le Pen in first-round French presidential vote.
11.22 pm: Voters will be choosing among 11 presidential candidates in what is being touted as the most unpredictable contest in generations.
11.13 pm: Over 50,000 police and gendarmes have been deployed to protect 66,000 polling stations for the election, reports The Associated Press.
11.oo pm: France presidential election comes just three days after Paris attack in Champs-Elysees Avenue leading to the death of a police officer and a gunman.
10:45 pm: The presidential poll is the first ever to be held while France is under a state of emergency, put in place since the November 2015 attacks in Paris left 130 people dead.
10:15 pm: In view of the recent attacks inspired by terror organisations around the world in Europe, especially those in France, the country has fortified the country by deploying a heavy security personnel presence, which include 50,000 police-persons and 7,000 soldiers.