French independent candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen will face one another in a runoff election on May 7, having taken the top two spots in the first round of elections.
Macron took 23.9 percent of the vote, Le Pen 21.4 percent, while conservative Republican party leader François Fillon and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon were eliminated after taking 19.9 and 19.6 percent respectively, report Eline Gordts and Nick Robins-Early.
“Figures across the political spectrum came together to back Macron, appearing to form a ‘cordon sanitaire’ against the prospect of a Le Pen presidency,” notes HuffPost.
After Sunday’s results were announced, French and European politicians immediately began throwing support behind Macron, fearing that Le Pen’s anti-European Union and anti-immigrant vision would further infect the French electorate.
A similar coalition of opposition formed to soundly defeat Marine Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie, who was then head of the party, back in 2002.
“Macron is a realist who tells the truth. French voters have responded,” says Sylvie Goulard in The Guardian, and “has taken risks on many issues, not least by being proudly pro-EU. We must ensure that it is his vision that triumphs on 7 May.”