At 20:00 we will know who will be the president of France

Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen? In Sunday’s election, the French elected the new head of state and the next course of their country. Nearly 49 million voters were called in to decide on the run-off between incumbent President Macron and his right-wing populist challenger Le Pen. According to observers, much depends on the level of turnout. The result is also likely to have consequences for the future of the EU.

Macron, 44, and his wife Brigitte went to the polls in Le Touquet on the English Channel, where they own a holiday home. Le Pen, 53, cast her ballot in her northern French stronghold, Henin-Beaumont. Both candidates sought to speak again with supporters and voters.

According to the Interior Ministry, turnout at 5pm was 63.23 per cent, more than two percentage points lower than five years ago (65.30 per cent) at the same time. He was also almost two points lower than in the first round of voting on April 10th.

According to estimates by four opinion polling institutes, abstention is likely to be 28 percent, which is 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2017. Based on the experience of recent years, a high level of abstention was expected, especially since is currently school holidays.

There is a big risk to Macron

In the most recent polls, Macron got 56.5 percent, about 10 percentage points ahead of Le Pen. However, he is far from his result from 2017, when the two candidates had previously competed against each other. At the time, Macron won 66.1 percent to 33.9 percent and at the age of 39 became the youngest president of the Fifth Republic.

Observers warned that a high abstention could narrow the gap between Macron and Le Pen and pose a “real risk” to the current Liberal president.

Macron and his allies have consistently stressed that the many voters who stayed home in Britain and the US in 2016 in anticipation of a clear result made possible Brexit and the election of Donald Trump at the helm of the US state.

“At Macron you know what to expect”

Much is at stake for both France and Europe. Macron promises greater EU reform and integration, Le Pen wants to expel many foreigners and change the constitution to give the French priority for work and social housing – it also defends a Europe of nation-states. If it wins, it could trigger an earthquake in the EU similar to Brexit.

Laetitia, 43, in a middle-class neighborhood in Marseille, regretted that empty ballot envelopes did not count. You voted “because it’s important”, but without conviction.

In the village of Klang in the Moselle department, where almost 42 percent voted for Le Pen in the first ballot, 57-year-old former driver Dominique Iacuzzo said of the two candidates: “In one case you know what to expect, in others you do not. you do. “

In this election, much will also depend on how the supporters of the left-wing populist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who almost failed to run in the first ballot, will decide. Macron is so unpopular with many of them that they say they prefer to cast blank or invalid ballots or not vote at all.

If Macron wins, he is likely to speak at the foot of the Eiffel Tower

After the first round, Mélenchon himself urged his followers not to “give any vote” to Le Pen; at the same time, however, he deliberately did not urge them to vote for Macron.

Polling stations are open until 19:00, in major cities until 20:00. In French territories overseas, elections were held on Saturday. The first screenings are expected from 20:00.

If re-elected, Macron will be the first president to serve a second term since Jacques Chirac in 2002. If he wins, he is expected to deliver his victory speech at the Champ de Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

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