French Presidential Elections Today

The first round is currently being held.

Photo: The White House

France is holding its first round in a two-round process (or only one round if a candidate wins a majority outright in the first). There are twelve candidates vying to make it to the second round. Al-Jareeza provides this handy map:


All signs point to a run-off between the incumbent president, Emmanuel Macron, and perennial candidate of the nationalist right-wing, Marine Le Pen.

Results should be coming early this afternoon, US time.

Live coverage:

This piece in the NYT feed does a good job of describing the voting dynamic in a two-round system: French voters cast ballots with one eye already on the runoff.

In regards to the stakes of the pending second round, this paragraph, also from the NYT (Macron and Le Pen offer a choice: Continuity or radicalization) sets that tone:

The possibility of France lurching toward an anti-NATO, pro-Russia, xenophobic and nationalistic position in the event of a Le Pen victory constitutes a potential shock as great as the 2016 British vote for Brexit or the election the same year of Donald J. Trump as president in the United States.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    Looks like Macron is in first after round one with mid twenties, LePen is in the low twenties, and a far left party is in third place with 20%. If the Left makes the sensible less-worse choice, Macron wins. If he loses, Putin wins and Europe becomes a dark place.

  2. CSK says:

    As of 3:09 p.m., it’s Macron 28.4% and Le Pen 23.4%.

  3. JohnSF says:

    Macron will get a narrow win in the first round, then kick Le Pen silly in the second.

  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    That’s certainly my guess as well. Had LePen garnered 40% I’d be worried, but LePen’s extremist voters are going to turn out for her, so 23% is not that impressive.

  5. CSK says:

    It’s Macron 27.6 and Le Pen 23 now.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    Zemmour received 7.2%
    Melenchon ~ 22%
    Pecresse ~ 5%

    The RW’ers totaling just over 30% isn’t a big win for them. Marcon’s problem is that he may not be an exciting second choice for those voters who sought a different candidate.

    Also, IIRC correctly, the final totals are about what the polling was several weeks ago, except for Melenchon who did surge, but at the expense of the other leftists.

  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    There’s just 2 points separating LePen and Melanchon. This run-off may not be the one we’re expecting.

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    Le Pen polling so well is scary. It’s almost we’re a month into the war and France wants to surrender again.

  9. JohnSF says:

    Revisiting earlier comment.
    Le Pen may be tougher to beat than I was thinking; though I still think Macron will do it.
    I was thinking back to the Jacques Chirac vs Jean-Marie Le Pen election of 2002.
    But then, the Socialists were still the main left party, and able to swing most of their vote behind Chirac, who as a Republican was stronger on the right.
    This time, the main left is the populist FI led by Melenchon.
    The old “mainstream” parties, Republican and Socialist, remain in eclipse.

    Looking at the polling, it’s the populist elements in Le Pens’ platform that are, erm, popular.
    Things like “no tax till age 30”, “full pensions at 60”, “cut tax on fuel” etc which play outside the right, among the less well off.
    So she could well pick up a a fair chunk of Melenchon’s nominally “left” support who can stomach the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim aspects.
    And here anti-“Western” side actually plays pretty well with these.

    So, between the economic illiterates, the terminally grumpy, the racist, the anti-Western etc Le Pen has a chance. There are a lot of rural working class French who think their living standards are being eroded, and resent their perception of Parisian upper class disregarding their interests.

    Macron still odds on to win, though.
    Polling indicates Melenchon vote is likely to split roughly 50:50; Republican vote likely 2 to 1 for Macron, Zemmour’s vote all to Le Pen, Jadots virtually all for Macron.
    Not easy to see a way to 50%+ for Le Pen.

  10. JohnSF says:

    Doubt the war is much of a factor; domestic issues are the driver, apart from the traditional “anti-Western” parts of the far right and far left.
    Taxes and benefits and grumpy grievance are what wins the votes for Le Pen and Melenchon.