French presidential run-off election results Emmanuel Macron defeats Marine Le Pen

Macron was set to win 57.6-58.2% of the vote compared to Ms Le Pen on 41.8-42.4%

Macron was set to win 57.6-58.2% of the vote compared to Ms Le Pen on 41.8-42.4%

French President Emmanuel Macron was on course Sunday to win a second term by defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in presidential elections, projections showed.

Mr. Macron was set to win 57% -58.5% of the vote compared with Ms. Le Pen on 41.5% -43%, according to projections by polling firms for French television channels based on a sample of the vote count.

The result is narrower than their second-round clash in 2017, when the same two candidates met in the run-off and Mr. Macron polled over 66% of the vote.

The relatively comfortable margin of victory will nonetheless give Mr. Macron some confidence as he heads into a second five-year mandate, but the election also represents the closest far-right has ever come to winning power in France.

A victory by Ms. Le Pen, accused by opponents of having cozy ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, would have sent shockwaves around the world comparable to the 2016 polls that led to Brexit in Britain and Donald Trump’s election in the United States.

The outcome, expected to be confirmed by official results overnight, will cause immense relief in Europe after fears a Le Pen presidency would leave the continent rudderless following Brexit and the departure of German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Left-leaning EU leaders including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had pleaded with France in the run-up to the vote to choose Mr. Macron over his rival, in an unusual intervention published in Le Monde newspaper.

Mr. Macron will be the first French president to win a re-election since Jacques Chirac in 2002 after his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande left office after only one term.

The 44-year-old is to make a victory speech on the Champ de Mars in central Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower where flag-waving supporters erupted in joy when the projections appeared at 8 pm local time.

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