Less than three weeks before the first round of French Presidential election, two leading candidates, the centrist Emmanuel Macron and Front National’s Marine Le Pen, are almost tied in the polls.
Most polls predicted that Le Pen would win in the first round, but the latest surveys indicate that Macron could come first. Newest polls show that Macron leads with 26/24 percent, and Le Pen close second with 24/25 percent.
Contrary to predictions that the race will be close in the first round, all polls say that Macron would comfortably beat Le Pen in the run-off on May 7. However, there is still a high number of undecided voters. This could add to the uncertainty in the election.
Le Pen has a solid support base, and this could also prove to be extremely important. Almost 81 percent of Front National voters are certain to pick Le Pen – an impressive result.
Behind Macron and Le Pen, the conservative Francois Fillon is still languishing in the third place, with 17 percent of vote intention. Fillon’s popularity was damaged by several corruption scandals, most notably the so-called ‘fake jobs’ controversy.
Fillon’s wife, Penelope, was officially charged with embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds and aggravated fraud.
As it remains clear that the new French president will be decided between Macron and Le Pen, the independent centrist launched an attack against his opponent and called for his voters to ‘fight’ the Front National.
“The National Front, our main opponent, is attacking us on all sides. Never boo them. Fight them. I want us to kick far from this campaign and from the country the party of hatred and contempt and all those who make us so ashamed. We are going to be ahead in the first round and we’re going to beat them”, Macron told a rally in the southern city of Marseille.
At the same time, Le Pen was in Bordeaux, where she repeated her stance that the euro is an instrument of German economic domination.
“We are at the mercy of a currency adapted to Germany and not to our economy. The euro is mostly a knife stuck in our ribs to make us go where others want us to go,” she said.
While Le Pen still remains in a good position and could well win in the first round on April 23, her main problem is to motivate voters that are traditionally opposed to Front National. After she was elected as party leader in 2011, Le Pen made significant effort to cleanse the party from its anti-Semitic elements and distance herself from her father’s policy.
Under Le Pen’s leadership, Front National has transformed from a fringe party to the most popular political force in the country.
The first round of French Presidential election will be held on April 23.