France faces its own EU referendum as far-right Europhobe Marine Le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron beat two main parties
France could face its own ‘Frexit’ in the future after far-right leader Marine Le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron beat the two main parties to go head to head in the upcoming presidential elections.
Around 40 million votes have been tallied so far. France’s Interior Ministry says Macron is currently in the lead with 23.54 per cent, followed by Le Pen with 22.33 per cent.
But it is thought that Le Pen’s chances of winning are limited as supporters for Republican candidate Francois Fillon, who conceded but has gained 19.81 per cent of the votes so far, will support Macron.
However, far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has gained 18.62 per cent, refused to concede defeat until the final results of first-round vote were announced.
Macron took to the stage in Paris earlier, with his wife Brigitte, and urged national unity against Le Pen.
To chants of ‘Macron president!’ and ‘We’re going to win,’ Macron began his speech by paying tribute to his opponents, and praised his supporters for his lightning rise.
He said he wants to gather ‘the largest possible’ support before the May 7 run off and urged hope in Europe instead of fear, a reference to Le Pen’s anti-European Union campaign.
Macron acknowledged widespread anger at traditional parties and promised ‘new transformations’ in French politics.
Le Pen later told her supporters she is offering `the great alternative’ in the presidential race.