French presidential runoff election live

Emmanuel Macron has a large poll lead over Marine Le Pen before today’s runoff election. Live commentary Monday morning. Also: a preview of the May 5 UK local elections

Live Commentary

10:42am Final results: Macron wins by 58.5-41.5; that 17-point margin is well down from his 32.2-point (66.1-33.9) margin against Le Pen in 2017, but better than polls expected. Turnout was 72.0%, with valid votes at 65.8% of registered due to people intentionally voiding their votes. Next in France: the June 12 and 19 legislative elections.

8:41am With 97% counted, Macron leads by 57.4-42.6.

7:27am Last 2% are big for Macron. He now leads by 56.3-43.7 with 88% counted.

7:07am With 86% counted, Macron leads by 55.7-44.3

5:59am With 66% counted in official results, Macron leads by 53.3-46.7. That gap will widen as more cities report.

5:55am Monday According to this final results projection, Macron wins by almost 59-41, a bigger margin than polls estimated.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

All polls will be closed by 4am Monday AEST for the French presidential runoff election between incumbent Emmanuel Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen. Ten final polls have been released, ranging from a 53-47 Macron lead up to 57-43.

Unless the polls understate the far-right in France by nearly as much as they did in the April 3 Hungarian election, Macron will win, though well down from his 66.1-33.9 2017 margin against Le Pen. French polls overstated the far-right in both the first round of this election and in 2017.

Le Figaro has a graphic showing how supporters of eliminated first round candidates are breaking between Macron, Le Pen and abstain. Far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon had 22.0% in the first round, and Macron is getting 34% of his votes, Le Pen 21% and abstain 45%. Le Pen gets 82% from the more far-right Éric Zemmour (7.1% in the first round), with Macron doing well from the Greens (4.6%) and winning a plurality from conservative Valérie Pécresse (4.8%).

May 5 UK local and Northern Ireland assembly elections

UK local government elections will occur on May 5. All London borough councils will be up for election, as will all Scottish and Welsh councils. At the 2021 local elections, the Conservatives defeated Labour by 36-29 with 17% for the Liberal Democrats, according to the BBC’s projected national share (PNS) that estimates a national outcome from council results.

Most seats to be contested in England were last up in 2018, when Labour and the Conservatives were tied at 35% each with 16% Lib Dems according to PNS. Current national polls have Labour leading the Conservatives by about five points, so Labour should gain councillors. It should help Labour that a large number of councils up for election are in London. A very bad performance by the Conservatives could again threaten Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister.

The Northern Ireland assembly election will also be held May 5. There are 90 members, with the Hare-Clark system used in 18 five-member electorates. Some contentious matters require a majority within both the Irish nationalists and British unionist blocs as well as an overall majority. Current polls have the Irish nationalist Sinn Féin ahead of the Democratic Unionist Party. If Sinn Féin wins more votes and seats than any other party, it would be the first time a nationalist party had done this since the first assembly election in 1998.

Other recent European elections

Tiny Malta has become something rare today – a stronghold for the centre-left. Labour won its third successive term on March 26, defeating the opposition Nationalists by a vote share of 55.1-41.7, and 38 seats to 29.

At the March 27 German Saarland state election, the centre-left SPD won 43.5% (up 13.9% from 2017), the conservative CDU 28.5% (down 12.2%), the far-right AfD 5.7%, the Greens 4.995% and the pro-business FDP 4.8%. As the Greens and FDP missed the 5% threshold required for a proportional allocation of seats, the SPD won a majority with 29 of the 51 seats. There will be a much bigger German state election in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 15.

At the April 3 Serbian elections, the populist SNS, which has governed since 2012, easily retained the presidency, but lost 60 parliamentary seats to be left short of a majority with 120 of the 250 seats.

32 comments on “French presidential runoff election live”

  1. Unless the polls are very wrong, I would expect Macron wins by 8-10 points.
    Interesting result in Germany, tells me the new SDP Chancellor and his SPD/Greens/Free Democrats coalition are enjoying a political honeymoon

  2. If, as seems likely, Sinn Féin wins the largest number of seats in the NI Assembly and automatically the first ministership, it is unlikely that the assembly will ever substantively meet.
    Having a Republican first minister (even though officially they are equal to the deputy minister) is a step too far for most unionists. This is particularly the case while the Brexit protocol continues to put a virtual border in the Irish Sea

  3. Very true Rocket.
    At some stage they must be allowed back into the tent – particularly as they have recently been “retiring” the TDs and MLAs who were veterans of the armed struggle.

  4. I’m no expert on Irish politics but some of the Irish who have worked for me have said that the two traditional parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael rely more on intergenerational loyalty/hatred dating back to which side they were on in the 1930s Treaty negotiations with the UK rather than much difference in policy.

  5. It was actually the civil war in 1921 but I think that after recent events this has finally disappeared.
    There was no real ideological difference but still maintained a duopoly for 100 years.
    When a 3rd viable force finally appeared they suddenly found that they had very little differences

  6. Not my field but it has been approved as COVID prophylaxis in the severely immuno compromised. So depends on the cancer I guess

  7. As I quoted Thomas Fazi in the previous French election thread, an analysis by Sciences Po (the most ‘elite establishment’ of the French tertiary sector in the political field) found Le Pen’s economic policies distinctly left-leaning. To quote from their actual analysis :

    > Il y a dix ans, 59% des propositions économiques du FN tiraient déjà vers la gauche économique dans l’après-crise financière de 2008. Sous la houlette de sa nouvelle présidente, le FN avait endossé les habits de la redistribution, de la justice sociale et de l’interventionnisme étatique, en rupture nette avec les orientations plus libérales de son père12. Le projet présidentiel de Marine Le Pen en 2022 n’infléchit pas cette course et l’amplifie même : les mesures de redistribution et de protection sociale représentent cette année deux tiers (66%) des propositions économiques et sociales de la candidate du RN, la proportion la plus élevée depuis l’irruption du FN sur la scène politique française.

    Here’s a (machine) translation :

    > Ten years ago, 59% of the FN’s economic proposals were already leaning to the economic left in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Under the leadership of its new president, the FN had donned the clothes of redistribution, social justice and state interventionism, in a clear break with the more liberal orientations of its father.12 Marine Le Pen’s presidential project for 2022 does not alter this course and even amplifies it: redistribution and social protection measures represent two-thirds (66 per cent) of the RN candidate’s economic and social proposals this year, the highest proportion since the FN burst onto the French political scene.

  8. As to Macron’s ideology, I’m unaware of a similarly rigorous analysis by Sciences Po. But I’ll offer my own rough analysis. His ideology is neoliberal, technocratic, war-mongering, and openly contemptuous & antagonistic towards ordinary working class people, whose main concern is their precarious situation and rapidly mounting costs of living (Macron unleashed a horrifyingly violent police attack on them, when they protested as the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ movement). Meanwhile, Adrian’s only descriptor for Macron above is ‘incumbent’.

  9. “8:41am With 97% counted, Macron leads by 57.4-42.6.”…

    Well camouflaged Fascists can try to fool a majority of the electorate in order to (initially) win power in a democratic way. To then do their Fascist thing as per history books, if they win the election. But a well-informed (= De-Moronised) electorate can spot them behind their mask and trash them at the ballot box.

    Well done to the People of France…. and now, it’s time for the People of Australia to have our say!

  10. “Honest Bastard says:
    Monday, April 25, 2022 at 7:28 am
    As to Macron’s ideology, I’m unaware of a similarly rigorous analysis by Sciences Po. But I’ll offer my own rough analysis. His ideology is neoliberal, technocratic, war-mongering, and openly contemptuous & antagonistic towards ordinary working class people”…

    So, a) you are either wrong about Macron, b) Le Pen is far worse than Macron on those factors, or c) a majority of the People of France are Morons and have just voted against their own interests…..

    Please do tell us where do you lean.

  11. “Le Pen’s economic policies distinctly left-leaning.”…

    Le Pen is a right-wing Populist (just like Scomo), but she is fundamentally a friend of the big end of town and the Neoliberals (just like Scomo). She tried to con the voters into believing that she is concerned about them (just like Scomo is doing right now), but she wasn’t able to con enough voters (just like Scomo won’t).

  12. “Honest Bastardsays:
    Monday, April 25, 2022 at 6:24 am
    Relevant recent tweet from Michael Tracey regarding Adrian’s reporting above :

    > Where is Macron’s ideological description? Every media outlet always makes sure to note that Le Pen is “far-right,” but they never seem to give a description of Macron’s ideology”…

    He is obviously a capitalist but Progressive (centre left) person. That’s the novelty that is going to smash the Neoliberal lunatics: Nobody is offering “Socialism” as an alternative, what’s being offered in Social Democratic capitalism, which is good for democracy, good for the private sector, good for the public sector and good for the environment.

  13. Alpo @ Monday, April 25, 2022 at 9:22 am says:

    > a majority of the People of France are Morons and have just voted against their own interests…..

    Le Pen has a majority of support amongst the working age population. Macron is a result of gerontocratic support. If you understand French and are actually interested in being better informed (by actual stats), see Emmanuel Todd’s [1] analysis of this situation :

    [1] > Emmanuel Todd (born 16 May 1951) is a French historian, anthropologist, demographer, sociologist and political scientist at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) in Paris;

  14. Ah, I have found some translation of Todd’s comments from the video I linked above for people whose French is a little lacking or, understandably, don’t have the time to watch a 1 hour video. Here he is on the gerontocratic question:

    > Second round voting intentions suggest two categories are poised to vote overwhelmingly for Macron: young people under 25, and more importantly, in terms of proportion and mass, pensioners, 70% of whom plan to vote for Macron. A narrowly-elected second-term President Macron would owe his victory to the retired, since Marine Le Pen would in this hypothesis enjoy a majority among those who actually work. One might say that he would not, in political philosophy terms, be legitimate since he had been elected by the old.

    > This, effectively, is the definition of a gerontocratic political system. It is quite significant that the current central issue of Macron’s campaign is retirement. His flagship first-round measure, which he frantically tried to forget in the last two weeks, was to delay retirement until 65. This project seemed to please pensioners who seem to think, according to polling, that it is quite normal to make younger people work longer than them.

    > Classical political philosophy, from Hobbes to Locke, Montesquieu to Rousseau, based its assumptions on political actors with a median age of 25 to 30. When universal suffrage was finally established, first for men, then for women, it also corresponded to a median voter age of about 30. Today we are faced, as a result of accelerated ageing, with voters above a 50 in median age.

    > Many political decisions (or indecisions) taken over the last decades could be the result of this growing gerontocracy. Advanced, extreme free trade has resulted in the crushing of young people’s income and employment opportunities in our “Western democracies”, even those with a higher education. The Heckscher-Ohlin theorem demonstrates that the most scarce local group finds itself most disadvantaged in international exchanges: these are the young people in rich countries. The old men in power and the politicians who represent them don’t care.

    > As far back as 2011, Ronald Lee and Andrew Mason sought to model intergenerational money transfers. In rich countries as a whole, average consumption age was still lower than average production age, but not by much, indicating that the old were not yet pumping out an exaggerated share of production. In countries such as Germany and Japan, however, the tipping point was near. Nine years later, the Covid epidemic saw the confinement of youth and working people to save the elderly, who were the only ones truly threatened en masse by the epidemic. The Great Lockdown was perhaps the most spectacular manifestation of the new gerontocratic power. An update of Lee and Mason’s calculations is urgently needed. It is perhaps here that the French election takes on its most universal meaning.

    > We must consider the distinct possibility that France will elect Sunday a president who is against the will of the French of working age. This gerontocratic problem is far more dangerous for democracy than all the worries expressed about populism, the far right, Islam or terrorism.

  15. The focus in France now moves to the French Parliamentary elections in June. In 2o16, Macron’s En Marche party won in part because people wanted the new fresh faced president to able to govern unrestricted. I doubt that is going to happen this time.

    It looks as if the hard Left will do quite well and Le Pen’s National Front will probably perform as well as last time. How the Socialists and the Republicans go will be interesting.

  16. Macron is a right winger, just less right wing than the fascist. I would have voted for him, but felt dirty as a consequence.

  17. Pleases to see Le Pen defeated.

    The below from before the election is worth reading, sheds some light.

    OPINION: Macron will win the French election – and then his real problems begin

    Incumbent president Emmanuel Macron is widely tipped to win the second round of the French elections. But, argues John Lichfield, the fragmentation of the French vote into three ‘tribes’ means that he faces a very difficult five years at the head of an increasingly divided country.

    Published: 19 April 2022 09:30 CEST

    There are two ways (at least) of viewing the second round of France’s presidential election on Sunday.

    Some commentators see a confrontation of “bloc versus bloc”; of people versus elites; of anti-System versus System. They imagine that it will be a battle between an anti-Macron front and an anti-Le Pen front.

    They are wrong, luckily.

    If you combine the votes for all “anti-system” candidates of both Right and Left in the first round you reach 58.7 percent of the total. How could Emmanuel Macron be re-elected this weekend if the “anti-system” voters were a coherent, political force? He would not have a chance.

    As it stands, the opinion polls give Macron a lead of between 9 and 12 points. How can that be?

    The answer is that “bloc versus bloc”, “people versus elites” is an incomplete and misleading description of the French electoral battlefield.

    I have been arguing for months – in this column and elsewhere – that the old French Right-Left system has mutated into a muddled pattern of three broad tribes: the scattered Left and the Greens; a pro-European, consensual Centre; and a nationalist-populist, anti-migrant and anti-European Right.

    I thought that these three blocs would become clearly defined and maybe develop party structures in time for the next presidential election in 2027. I was wrong. Events have moved much more rapidly.

    If you assemble the first-round votes along my new fault lines, France divided on April 10th into three, almost equal parts. The six candidates of the Left got 32.2 percent; Macron’s Centre and the Valérie Pécresse rump of the centre-right got 32.4 percent; the three candidates of the nationalist Right got 32.5 percent.

    The remaining 3 percent went to the eccentric and egocentric Jean Lasalle, a man who defies all categorisation.

    The geology of this new electoral landscape is unstable. The boundaries can be drawn in different ways. (Should all the remaining Pécresse be counted as part of the Centre?) Each camp or tribe is internally divided. Each tribe contains parts of the “elite” and parts of “the people”.

  18. It is interesting that the polls moved to Macron between the first and second round, and his final vote slightly exceeded his best final poll, which might be partly accounted for by the fact that there is no last day polling by law. As with the last election, I think some who don’t like Macron and who love to complain about the way things are admit to themselves in the last week or even the last day that they will still vote to block the one they like even less. This 2021 post on french performative miserablism and polling on vaccination partly covers what might be a national political and polling tendancy.

  19. I’m glad that the media scaremongering about the far right in France (which ignored how close we actually were to Macron vs Melenchon instead) went absolutely nowhere as expected.

    Any whining about gerontocracy is welcomed to first come to Australia where the elderly have been propping up Coalition governments for a long time and unlike Macron the Coalition is not also the preferred choice of under 25s.

    Also, I would assume that “majority of working age French” thing is not based on today’s numbers – if it was based on the idea that LePen was within a few points and not losing by 17, then it wouldn’t actually be accurate?

  20. @Leroy – the Tom Forth thing is very interesting and I found it convincing, albeit as someone who’s never had much cause to think about French survey data before.

  21. Arky @ Monday, April 25, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    Agree that Mélenchon came close to Le Pen in the first round and it’s something I’ve neglected to mention. I would have preferred him to Macron as well (tout sauf Macron). But the polling for him vs Macron in the second round was a little lower than it was for Le Pen, so he was seen as less a prospect for defeating Macron, at least as the polling went. However Le Pen’s final achieved percentage was around where Mélenchon’s final polling at its highest ended up, so perhaps it is a moot point.

    > Australia where the elderly have been propping up Coalition governments for a long time and unlike Macron the Coalition is not also the preferred choice of under 25s.

    Of course I agree about the situation in Australia and your point about Macron bamboozling the under 25s is a good one, although I wonder how long that will last in his second term. (And worth noting that Mélenchon actually has the higher support in this demographic.)

    Finally, your point about whether Le Pen did actually achieve a majority of the working age population is pertinent too, and one I wondered about myself when reporting Todd’s analysis. It will be interesting to see, if further analysis is done on this question.

  22. If you think this choice was a bad one, spare a thought for those on the French left-of-centre back in 2002, when the runoff was between Jacques Chirac and Jean-Marie Le Pen (Marine Le Pen’s father and political movement predecessor.) A lot of French leftists had to hold their noses and vote for Chirac in the second round of that election. For frame of reference, if this election was akin to a contest between Nick Xenophon and Pauline Hanson, that one was like a contest between John Howard and Pauline Hanson.

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