French election

Will it be Macron or Le Pen? Follow events as France goes to the polls

Hugh Linehan Sun, May 7
 
LIVE: French election

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  • 17:17
    Hello and welcome to this Irish Times liveblog covering the results from the second round of the French presidential election. I’m Hugh Linehan. Over the next few hours I’ll be posting updates on the outcome of today’s vote, in which Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are competing to lead their country for the next five years. Polls close at 8pm CET, which is 7pm here in Ireland, and we’ll be expecting exit poll projections very soon after that.
  • 17:18
    The almost universal expectation is that Macron will comfortably win today’s vote, with most polls putting him between 18 and 22 per cent ahead of Le Pen. Always the front-runner, Macron extended his lead over Le Pen after a strong performance in a televised debate on Wednesday, with an Elabe poll published on Friday showing 62 percent of voters backing Macron and 38 percent favouring Le Pen.
  • 17:21
    You can find out everything you need to know about today's election from Damien Cullen's guide here.
  • 17:23

    At 5pm local time (4pm in Ireland), voter turnout stood at 65.30 per cent, six points down on the same point in the 2012 vote.


  • 17:31
    The low turnout is not unexpected, given the fact that neither of France's two traditional main parties, the Republicans (Gaullists) or the Socialists, are represented, Add in the likelihood that many of the 19 per cent of the electorate who voted for Melenchon, the left-wing candidate, in the first round are going to abstain and predictions of the lowest turnout since 1969 look likely to be true.
  • 17:38

    Marine Le Pen voted this morning in the National Front stronghold of Hénin-Beaumont.



  • 17:46

    Macron and Le Pen will be watching the results from their campaign headquarters and each will move on to a new location if they win. Le Pen will be watching the results in the 8th arrondissement. From there, she will join her team and supporters at the Chalet du Lac in the 12th arrondissement.
    Macron will be stationed in the 15th arrondissement, at Rue de l’Abbé-Groult. If he wins, he will move to the plaza in front of the glass pyramid at the Louvre, which was reopened this afternoon following a security alert.

  • 17:56
    So how will this play out?  Polling stations in many places will close in about five minutes, at 7 pm local time. Others, in big cities, will stay open until 8. As soon as the last polling stations close, French media outlets will publish projections of the result, which are normally very accurate. So we should know the name of the next French president in slightly over an hour.  
  • 18:03


  • 18:13

    Perhaps the most dramatic event of the campaign came two days ago. Macron’s team said a “massive” hack had dumped emails, documents and campaign financing information online just before campaigning and France entered a quiet period, effectively forbidding politicians from commenting on the leak.
    Authorities sought to keep the hack from influencing the outcome of the presidential election, with the electoral commission warning on Saturday that it may be a criminal offence to republish the data. You can read more about the hack here,

  • 18:20

    Le Monde has joined a media boycott of the Front National election event this evening after the party refused accreditation to a number of media outlets, including Buzzfeed and MediaPart.

     


    Here's the Le Monde statement:
    The Front National has chosen to exclude some French and international media from its election evening event on 7 May ... Le Monde forcefully condemns this attitude which does not allow proper coverage of a major democratic moment and shows a poor interpretation of press freedom. In solidarity with the media concerned, we have decided we will not be present at this election evening event. This decision will not prevent us from covering the Front National to the same journalistic standards.

  • 18:26

    This comes with a public health warning as it's not officially confirmed, If true, it would represent a strong showing by Macron,

     


  • 18:34
    The numbers which will be released just after 7pm Irish time will be a very accurate projection of the final result, based on a substantial sample of those who voted today, weighted and analysed on the basis of previous final results, We can expect the numbers to be within a percentage point or so of the final count. The actual counting will continue through the evening, and those numbers will probably lean conservative at first, since returns come in first from rural areas, But as the evening wears on, the overall count will converge increasingly with the initial projection,
  • 18:37


  • 18:41


  • 18:44

    Macron supporters at the Louvre preparing to celebrate their candidate's election.


  • 18:50


  • 18:55
    There will be plenty of argument over what constitutes a really good result for Macron - and indeed Le Pen, If the latter ends up in the mid-30s rather than at 40 per cent, that will have to be a disappointment for the Front National, However, it should be remembered Le Pens's father, Jean-Marie, only got 20 per cent when he made it to the second round against Jacques Chirac iin 2002, So the far-right's rise is continuing,
  • 18:57


  • 19:01

    First official projection:


    Emmanuel Macron 65 per cent
    Marine Le Pen 35 per cent

  • 19:03


  • 19:07

    This is a very impressive win for Macron, who for much of the campaign had a 20 per cent lead, He seems to have won by a clear 30 per cent,

     


  • 19:08


  • 19:16
    Le Pen congratulates Macron. "The people voted for continuity, I wish him well with the challenges ahead. I thank the 11 million people who voted for me, The old parties are no longer a credible opposition. The second round of the election represented the division between globalists and nationalists, I will be at the forefront of that in the elections to the Assembly, We will reset our political movement to create a new force,,, Long live the Republic and long live France,"
  • 19:17


  • 19:20
    Emmanuel Macron (39) will be the youngest French head of state since Louis-Napoléon in 1848, Who became an Emperor, by the way,,,
  • 19:22

    Theresa May is on the line:

    'The Prime Minister warmly congratulates President-elect Macron on his election success. France is one of our closest allies and we look forward to working with the new President on a wide range of shared priorities.'

  • 19:25
    Commentators in France already suggesting Le Pen's words indicate she may seek to disband the party with the intention of building a broader nationalist, right-wing movement,
  • 19:29

    Ruadhán Mac Cormaic reports:

    The result is a remarkable triumph for Mr Macron, a former banker who has never held elected office and is now set to become the country’s youngest head of state since the creation of the modern French republic. He will also be the first non-party president, and his ability to form a stable government will hinge on the outcome of legislative elections next month.

    Read more here.

  • 19:33

    Outgoing Socialist prime minister Manuel Valls  calls for a"presidential majority" in parliament. Signs of moves towards a pro-Macron electoral alliance for the Assembly elections?


  • 19:41

    A tweet from the president of the European Council:


  • 19:45
    Agence France Press gets the first official quote from the victor: 'A new page in our long history this evening. I would like it to be one of hope and of confidence rediscovered.'
  • 19:52

    Lara Marlowe on the challenge ahead:

    'The newly elected president Emmanuel Macron faces the near impossible challenge of reversing France’s decline and reconciling a deeply divided population while the country remains under the threat of jihadist attacks.

    Tackling the 10 per cent jobless rate, which rises to 24 per cent among young people, is Macron’s first priority. He has promised to legislate by decree if necessary to simplify the labour code.
    Macron says he will undertake an audit of France’s public sector, which consumes 57 per cent of GDP, the highest level among developed countries. In the autumn he will present a plan to make €60 billion in government savings, while lowering property taxes, payroll charges and corporation tax.'


    Read Lara's full article here,

  • 19:55


  • 19:56


  • 20:00

    Here's a New York Times visualisation of confirmed results so far. As we mentioned earlier, first results are from rural areas and tend to favour the right, Later results from urban centres will tilt the balance further to Macron,

  • 20:02
    Macron will speak at his headquarters with what are expected to ve more sombre words before heading to the Louvre for his big celebration with supporters,
  • 20:18


  • 20:22


    'It's a great honour and a great responsibility, Thank you from the bottom of my heart, But I want to speak to all of you, no matter what your choice was, There were a lot of problems,,,

    'Madame Le Pen was my adversary, I know the rage, anxiety and doubt that many of you expressed, It is my duty to fight against all sorts of inequality, to make sure of your security, All together you make up the population of France, We are the heirs of a grand history, it's our duty to pass it on to our children and carry it on with new blood, Our way of living, of being free,

    'To all tyhe nations of the world I say France will be there to assist in peace and international co-operation, France will be at the forefront of the fight against terrorism for as long as that is neceessary,

    'I will not be stopped by any obstacle,

    'I would like to salute President Hollande, who has worked for five years for our country, For the next five years my resposnibility will be to gather the men and women to take advantage of opportunities such as the technological revolution and the threat posed by terrorism,

    'In a humble way with total devotion I'm going to serve you, Long live the Republic and long live France,'

  • 20:24


  • 20:28


  • 20:40

    The States are unusually United this evening,

  • 20:43

    Worth noting how many people actually went to the polls to (presumably) intentionally spoil their votes,


  • 20:49

    Here's how the number of spoiled votes in 2017 compares with previous elections,

  • 20:54

    Marion-Maréchal Le Pen, the niece of Marine Le Pen, has said “lessons have to taken” from the result. “We did not succeed for this election to have a referendum for or against France, for or against immigration.” She said.
    She declined to say whether she would agree with any proposal to change the name of the party but said it would be on the agenda at the next party conference next year.

  • 20:55


  • 21:07


  • 21:20

    A 'very warm' telephone conversation has already taken place between Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.


  • 21:33

    The Irish Times editorial on the result welcomes Macron's victory but offers some words of caution:

    'France appears to be heading for a period of “cohabitation” when the president has to rely on a prime minister from an opposing party – reaching a deal with either the depleted and split Socialists or the Republicains will not be easy'