How far ahead was Macron from Le Pen – gap was closer than you think

Emmanuel Macron vows to represent all French people

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Emmanuel Macron has secured a second term as French President, beating his closest rival Marine Le Pen in yesterday’s second-round run off. His victory was convincing but the incumbent leader will be disappointed to have won with 58.54 percent of the votes – down on the 66.1percent against Le Pen in their first duel in 2017.

In contrast, Ms Le Pen secured 41.4 percent of the vote this time round – the largest her party has ever seen with 13.2 million votes, compared to 33.9 percent against their first run-off in 2017.

So while Mc Macron may be celebrating today, the victory will be bittersweet as BBC Paris Correspondent, Lucy Williamson, told BBC Breakfast: “Just having a look through the papers this morning, and it was quite interesting that one of the papers had the headline ‘Victory without triumph for Emmanuel Macron’, because his far-right rival got more than 40 percent of the vote; more than she’s ever got, and more than her party has ever got before.

“You saw that in Mr Macron’s speech last night. It was a little bit more humble. He chose to walk out with that group of children alongside him.

“He spoke about doubts and divisions within the country, and he recognised that a lot of the people that voted for him, hadn’t really voted for him at all, but had simply voted to block Marine Le Pen.”

Speaking in a late-night victory speech yesterday, Mr Macron acknowledged the widespread discontent, saying: “Many in this country voted for me not because they support my ideas but to keep out those of the far-right. I want to thank them and know I owe them a debt in the years to come.

“We will have to be benevolent and respectful because our country is riddled with so many doubts, so many divisions.”

“Many in this country voted for me not because they support my ideas but to keep out those of the far-right. I want to thank them and know I owe them a debt in the years to come,” Macron said in a late-night victory speech.

“We will have to be benevolent and respectful because our country is riddled with so many doubts, so many divisions.”

Mr Macron and his camp vowed to listen to public sentiment more, with close ally and parliament leader Richard Ferrand saying: “When a proposal that affects the lives of the French comes to the National Assembly, the deputies must go and discuss it with the French.

“Otherwise, there is a risk of a divide between parliamentarians and what the French feel.”

The French President’s next test will come in June, when parliamentary elections will be held on June 12 and 19 – and have been dubbed “the third round” of the Presidential election by left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Conceding defeats last night, Marine Le Pen promised to continue the fight and “never abandon France” – reminding supporters of the next upcoming vote in June.

She said: “Millions of our compatriots have chosen us and change. We are more determined than ever and our determination to defend the French people is greater than ever. This defeat is in itself a form of hope.”

She also warned that the next five years would be “as brutal as the last five years”, and added: “I will continue my commitment to France and the French. It’s not over. In a few weeks we have the legislative elections.”

Ms Le Pen took over the Front National party from her father in 2011 and vowed to clean up its image. For the 2022 vote, she even dropped some major policies – including Frexit – and positioned herself as the woman of the people, championing the unheard voices.

Ultimately it was not enough to propel her to victory, but her rise in voters this time round will be enough to spook Mr Macron.

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