Macron, the centrist incumbent, is projected to get 57 percent to 58.5 percent of the vote in Sunday’s second-round runoff, compared to 41.5 percent to 43 percent for Le Pen, his nationalist rival.
If the projections are accurate, Macron will triumph decisively, although by a smaller margin than in 2017, when he won by more than 30 percentage points to became France’s youngest president. While she fell short of the Élysée Palace again in her third presidential run, Le Pen still looks to have secured the most votes ever for a French far-right candidate.
Le Pen’s challenge to the country’s mainstream order and the West’s unity against Russia had officials in Europe and Washington anxiously following the election amid the war in Ukraine. She is sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin and skeptical of NATO and the European Union.
Le Pen conceded defeat in a speech to supporters shortly after the projections were released but said her unprecedented vote total represented “a shining victory in itself.”
“The ideas we represent are reaching summits,” she said.
After polls closed across France at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET), the polling companies Opinionway, Harris and IFOP worked with media organizations to publish projected results based on early voting patterns. The method has accurately predicted French elections in the past.
The Interior Ministry will announce the final result Monday.