French presidential elections, 2017: Macron, Le Pen win first round

24 Apr 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar

The first phase of voting for the French Presidential elections ended on Sunday. The results declared in the wee hours of Monday saw candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron secure 21.4% and 23.9% votes respectively.

The candidates are set to face each other in run-off elections to be held on May 7.

Let us know more on these elections!

In context: French elections: Macron, Le Pen face-off in Round-II

24 Apr 2017French presidential elections, 2017: Macron, Le Pen win first round

How are the French Presidential elections conducted?

The French presidential elections are conducted as per the stipulations under Article 7 of the constitution. Conducted through direct popular vote, failure of candidates to secure absolute majority in the first round, takes the election forward to a second round which declares the final winner.
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Why are these elections important?

BackgroundWhy are these elections important?

Liberal values represented by France and European Union are under competition from right-wing populism, whose case has gained strength following successive terrorist attacks in France.

Further, the elections are happening in a milieu characterized by the threats emanating from the EU Refugee crisis, complemented by the rise of Islamic State.

The election results could effectively determine France's future orientation towards EU and its values.

AboutWho were the contenders?

11 candidates contested in the election. Winners of the first round Macron and Le Pen belong to the Le Marche and National Front parties respectively. While the former is a centrist, the latter has drawn comparison with Donald Trump for her right-wing populist views.

Francois Fillon, a conservative, Jean-Luc Melenchon, a communist radical and Benoit Hamon, a leftist came third, fourth and fifth respectively.

A historic election on many counts

This is the first Presidential election that has been conducted in France under a state of emergency. Deviating from the previous trend, centre-right or centre-left parties failed to make it to the second round. Combined vote share of the centre-parties plummeted to 26%.

AnalysisWhat does this mean for France's future?

The choice between Macron and Le Pen could in a sense set France's orientation as open or closed, for the next five years.

Le Pen's victory could change EU-France relations, with her vocal stance on banning all immigrants and triggering a "Frexit", similar to Brexit.

Deviating from previous trends, the results assert a shift from mainstream political ideals to more fragmented ones.

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25 Apr 2017French elections: Marine Le Pen quits as National Front leader

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen announced she is stepping down as leader of the far-right National Front; however, she indicated the move will be temporary.

The decision is being seen as an attempt to garner votes from supporters of the candidates defeated in the first round.

Le Pen will face centrist Emmanuel Macron in the second round.