This column appeared on Broadsheet.ie on April 24th, 2017 – just after the first round of voting in the French Presidential election when Macron and Le Pen emerged as the two front runners in Round Two: www.broadsheet.ie/le-pen-and-now
You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief last night as the first exit poll results from the French presidential election emerged showing Emmanuel Macron as the front runner. Macron, the former Economy Minister under Socialist President Francois Hollande and now independent centrist candidate now faces off against the second placed right-winger, Marine Le Pen in round two of the election in two weeks’ time.
It wasn’t just EU officials and other EU heads of government who were relieved, but also the heads of the polling companies whose predictions turned out to be extraordinary accurate, in many cases within just 1% of the result.
That sense of relief continued into this morning with European stock markets rallying and the Euro rising to a five-month peak with the news that France is likely to have a more centrist pro-EU President Emmanuel Macron.
Only a month ago the polls suggested that Le Pen might emerge as the lead candidate in the first round followed by Macron, with some showing Le Pen as high as 27% and Macron around 25%. However; the collapse in recent weeks of the socialist party candidate Hamon saw the far left’s Melechon rally and join the leading pack, consisting of Le Pen, Macron and the conservative candidate Fillon, all within 3-4% of each other.