Who will be the next President of France?
The projections, which may still shift but are generally a good indicator of the outcome, showed Mr. Macron leading with about 28.5 percent of the vote, and Ms. Le Pen in second place with 24.2 percent, after a late surge that reflected widespread disaffection over rising prices, security, and immigration.
President Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen, the French far-right leader, in the runoff of France’s presidential elections, according to projections based on preliminary ballot counts published by French polling agencies on Sunday at the close of voting. The runoff, on April 24, will be a repeat of the last election, in 2017, when Mr. Macron, then a relative newcomer to politics intent on shattering old divisions between left and right, trounced Ms. Le Pen with 66.9 percent of the vote to her 33.1 percent.
The Socialist Party, long a pillar of postwar French politics, collapsed to about 2 percent of the vote, leaving Jean-Luc Mélanchon, the far-left anti-NATO candidate with his France Unbowed movement, to take third place with 20 percent.
Last week, in an interview in the daily Le Parisien newspaper, Mr. Macron called Ms. Le Pen “a racist” of “great brutality.”
Reflecting France’s drift to the right in recent years, no left-of-center candidate came close to qualifying for the runoff. Polls taken before Sunday’s vote indicated Mr. Macron winning by just 52 percent to 48 percent against Ms. Le Pen in the second round.
Mr. Macron wants to transform Europe into a credible military power with “strategic autonomy.” But Mr. Macron, after a lackluster campaign, will go into the second round as the favorite, having fared a little better than the latest opinion polls suggested.
The gloves will be off as they confront each other over the future of France, at a time when Britain’s exit from the European Union and the end of Angela Merkel’s long chancellorship in Germany have placed a particular onus on French leadership. He will go into the second round as the favorite, having fared a little better than the latest opinion polls suggested.
Ms. Le Pen’s ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia are close, although she has scrambled in recent weeks to play them down.
President Emmanuel Macron will again face the far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a runoff. This month, she was quick to congratulate Viktor Orban, Hungary’s nationalist and anti-immigrant leader, on his fourth consecutive victory in parliamentary elections.