France presidential election sees Marcon and Le Pen advance to second-round
The French presidential election will see Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen face off in the second-round with Macron garnering 23.75 per cent of votes and Le Pen garnering 21.53 per cent.
The duo have been placed ahead of Francois Fillon who has 19.91 per cent votes and Jean-Luc Melenchon who has 19.64 per cent of votes. On Sunday night, flag-waving supporters cheered Macron and Pen’s accession to the second round.
As the first results appeared on huge television screens at 8 pm (1800 GMT), some of the supporters of conservative challenger Francois Fillon screamed and swore as they realised the fate of their champion.
Le Pen’s victory party took place at the Francois Mitterrand sports centre in her flagship town of Henin-Beaumont, northern France. She was the only one of the main candidates to spend the evening outside the capital. Roars of “Marine Presidente” went up there as the early projected results came through.
Backers of the far-left showman Jean-Luc Melenchon were also disappointed that not he, but Le Pen, will challenge Macron now for the presidency. In a defiant and bitter atmosphere outside a sports bar in northern Paris, where Melenchon held his electoral night, dozens of his fans shouted chants of resistance.
Le Pen attacks Macron on security
Le Pen on Monday accused Macron of being weak in the face of Islamist terrorism. Le Pen, 48, has also touted her pledges to suspend the EU’s open-border agreement on France’s frontiers, and to expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services, as the right response to a series of Islamist attacks in France.
Seeking to exploit Macron’s lack of experience in the area, she told reporters in her northern stronghold of Henin-Beaumont: “I’m on the ground to meet the French people to draw their attention to important subjects, including Islamist terrorism, on which Mr Macron is, to say the least, weak”. France has seen a series of attacks by Islamist militants in the past two years that have killed more than 230 people; only three days before Sunday’s vote, a policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in central Paris in an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
But despite this, opinion polls consistently found that voters were more concerned about the economy and the trustworthiness of politicians.
Macron’s internal security programme calls for 10,000 more police officers, and 15,000 new prison places. He has recruited a number of security experts to his entourage, and noted that Le Pen has less experience of national government than he does.