Voters in France have comprehensively snubbed the country’s political establishment, sending far-right populist Marine Le Pen and political novice Emmanuel Macron through to the second round of the country’s presidential election, early results indicate.
It was a stunning victory for Macron, 39, a former investment banker who has never before stood for elected office and now becomes the favorite to become France’s next President. “We did it,” he told jubilant supporters.
It was also a success for Le Pen, who has spent years attempting to rid the Front National of the toxic legacy of her father. “It is time to free French people from arrogant elites … I am the people’s candidate,” she declared.
The result mirrored others — such as the British vote to leave the European Union and the US election of Donald Trump — where voters have rejected traditional elites. “It’s a political earthquake in this country and in Europe,” veteran French journalist Christine Ockrent told CNN.
President Donald Trump is not supporting France’s far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, the White House chief of staff said on Sunday.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Reince Priebus was asked whether a Trump tweet last week suggested he wants Le Pen to win the presidential election that is under way.
“No, not at all,” Priebus said. “I think he may have some opinions, as far as who he thinks might win. But he certainly doesn’t have a preference, other than a right-of-center person who believes in the free market.”
French citizens on Sunday have been voting in a first-round election for president. Opinion polls suggest centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Le Pen are favorites to qualify for the runoff on May 7, but conservative ex-Prime Minister François Fillon and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon are also in contention.