Macron given French election boost after Ukraine crisis

President Emmanuel Macron is expected to beat Marine Le Pen by 13 percentage points despite not yet entering the race

French President Emmanuel Macron waits to greet the Georgian President at the Elysee Palace in Paris on February 28. AFP
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Support for President Emmanuel Macron rose to its highest yet for the first round of France's presidential election, boosted by his role in the Ukraine crisis, a poll published on Monday suggested.

Mr Macron gained two points in the IFOP poll for Paris Match, rising to 28 per cent, the highest level since the start of the rolling poll.

It comes less than two months before the election's first round on April 10.

In second place, far-right rival Marine Le Pen lost 0.5 points to 16 per cent, while third-placed Eric Zemmour dropped 1.5 points to 14 per cent. Centre-right conservative Valerie Pecresse dropped 1 point to 13 per cent.

Mr Macron has led European efforts to avert war in Ukraine, flying to Moscow this month to meet Mr Putin and spending hours on the phone with him and other world leaders over the past weeks to mediate.

The crisis has put his far-right rivals on the backfoot, forcing Ms Le Pen and Mr Zemmour to justify their past support for Mr Putin.

The two have had to issue criticism of the Kremlin's move since the incursion started.

Mr Macron, who has yet to officially make his decision to run for re-election but is widely expected to, was seen as winning the April 24 run-off against all candidates, and would beat Ms Le Pen by 56.5 per cent to 43.5 per cent, the poll of 1,500 respondents indicated.

Another poll over the weekend showed voters approved of Mr Macron's role in the Ukraine crisis.

About 58 per cent of the French think he did well, according to Harris Interactive, while only 28 per cent of them approved of Ms Le Pen and 21 per cent of Mr Zemmour.

Almost two thirds of respondents said the Ukraine crisis would influence the way they voted in the election.

Updated: February 28, 2022, 10:44 PM