MS Risk Blog

French Presidential Election: Macron Seen Beating Le Pen According to Latest Poll

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According to an opinion poll that was published on 6 February, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron are set to make it through to the presidential election’s second round in May, with Macron comfortably winning the runoff.

The IFOP rolling poll of voting intentions indicated Le Pen garnering 25.5 percent of the vote in the 23 April first round of voting, up 1.5 percent since 1 February, with Macron getting 20.5 percent, up 0.5 percent over the same period. Conservative candidate Francois Fillon, who is in the midst of a political scandal, placed third with 18.5 percent, down from 21 percent. Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon has also lost momentum since his nomination in a primary vote and was not seen gathering 15.5 percent of the votes, down from 18 percent on 1 February.

On Monday, Fillon vowed to fight on for the presidency despite a damaging scandal involving taxpayer-funding payments to his wife for work, which a newspaper alleges she did not do. Speaking at a news conference in Paris, Mr Fillon, 62, apologised for what he said was his error of judgement regarding the employment of family members. While he disclosed that his wife’s work as parliamentary assistant over fifteen years had been genuine and legal, he noted that the campaign of “unfounded allegations” against him and his family would not make him abandon his bid for the presidency as the nominee of the centre-right. He stated, “there is no plan B,” dismissing reports that other centre-right candidates were being lined up to replace him, and adding “I am the only candidate who can bring about a national recovery. I am the candidate of the Right and I am here to win.” He announced that he would launch a new phase of his campaign from Tuesday. Mr Fillon, a former prime minister, called the news conference after members of his own party, The Republicans, urged him to quit the race to give the party time to find a replacement candidate. He will hop that his apology and denial of wrongdoing rally the party and voters behind him. Prior to the scandal surfacing in a weekly satirical newspaper nearly two weeks ago, opinion polls had shown Mr Fillon to be the clear favourite to win the election over Le Pen. Since then, his approval ratings have plummeted and he is now seen as failing to reach the second round of voting in May.

The stakes are high for France’s Right, which is battling to return to power after five years of Socialist rule under President Francois Hollande.

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