Macron vs Le Pen: France votes in presidential tension-free birth

PARIS – France has begun voting in a presidential election Sunday with consequences for Europethe future of, with the central incumbent Emmanuel Macron who goes ahead but fights a tough challenge from the right opponent Marine Le Pen.

The centrist Macron is asking voters to trust him for a second five-year term despite a presidency marred by protests, epidemic and war in Ukraine. A Macron victory in this vote would make him the first French president in 20 years to win a second term.

The outcome of the vote in France, a nuclear-armed country with one of the world’s largest economies, could also have an impact on the conflict in Ukraine, as France has played a key role in the conflict. diplomatic efforts and support for sanctions against Russia.

Le Pen’s support in the French constituency has surged during the campaign to her all-time high, and much will depend on how many people go to the polls on Sunday. . Many of those expected to choose Macron are doing so to weed out Le Pen and ideas seen as too radical and anti-democratic, such as the plan to ban the Muslim headscarf in the country. public places, or her relationship with Russia.

Both candidates are trying to contest the 7.7 million votes cast by a leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, defeated in the first vote.

For many people who voted for leftist candidates in 1st round April 10This spillover vote presents an unlikely choice between a Le Pen nationalist and a president who some feel has leaned to the right during his first term. The outcome may depend on how left-wing voters decide: between supporting Macron or abstaining and letting him go against Le Pen himself.

All opinion polls in recent days point to a victory for the 44-year-old pro-European center – however the margins against his 53-year-old nationalist opponent vary widely, between 6 and 15 percentage points, depending on the poll. Polls also forecast a potentially record high number of people who will abstain or not vote.

Earlier this week, Macron won the gloves in a two-hour and 45-minute debate – the campaign’s final debate – that ripped his far-right challenger as he sought the votes he needed. to win.

Le Pen sought to appeal to working-class voters struggling with rising prices amid Russia’s outbreak of war in Ukraine, an approach that even Macron admits has made a mark. resound in the public. She said reducing the cost of living would be her priority if elected as France’s first woman president, and she saw herself as a candidate for voters unable to make ends meet.

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She said that Macron’s presidency had left the country deeply divided. She has repeatedly referred to the so-called yellow vest protest movement that rocked his government in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, with months of violent protests against his economic policies that some say hurt the poorest.

France’s presidential campaign has been especially difficult for voters from immigrant and religious minorities. The poll shows that the majority of France’s Muslim population – the largest in Western Europe – voted for leftist candidates in the first round, so their voices could be decisive.

Macron has also touted his environmental and climate achievements in an attempt to appeal to young voters, popular with left-wing candidates. Citizens and especially millennials voted against Melenchon. Many young voters are particularly interested in climate issues.

Although Macron is associated with the slogan “Make the planet great again”, during his first five-year term, he angered yellow vest protesters by skipping tax hikes on fuel prices. . Macron said his next prime minister would be put in charge of environmental planning as France seeks to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Le Pen, once considered a climate change skeptic, wants to eliminate subsidies for renewable energy. She vowed to dismantle wind farms and invest in nuclear and hydroelectric power.

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