French election: Macron widens lead over Le Pen

Two polls published on Monday showed the current president winning Sunday’s presidential election

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, La Republique en Marche’s candidate for re-election, greets supporters on April 18, 2022. AFP
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Emmanuel Macron regained some momentum over far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, as France entered the final week of a closely watched election.

Two polls released on Monday showed Mr Macron’s lead over Ms Le Pen was growing slightly.

He would beat the nationalist leader 56 per cent to 44 per cent in Sunday’s run-off, according to a poll conducted by Ipsos-Sopra Steria for France Info and Le Parisien.

Two days earlier, his lead was 55.5 per cent to Ms Le Pen’s 44.5 per cent.

A separate survey by Ifop-Fiducial for LCI, Paris Match and Sud Radio placed Mr Macron ahead in the run-off, with 54.5 per cent to 45.5 per cent of voting intentions, up from 53.5 per cent to 46.5 per cent three days earlier.

Mr Macron faces a tight race against Ms Le Pen, with both candidates rushing to woo voters who backed far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round.

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During a campaign rally in Marseille on Saturday, Mr Macron tried to win over left-wing voters by vowing to end the use of fossil fuels.

Ms Le Pen faces allegations that she and members of her National Rally party misused hundreds of thousands of euros in public funds when she was a member of the European Parliament, between 2004 and 2017.

A woman walks past presidential campaign posters of French President and centrist candidate for reelection Emmanuel Macron and French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in Anglet, south-western France, Saturday, April 16, 2022.  France will vote on Sunday April 24 in the second round of the presidential election. AP

French authorities are looking into a report by the EU’s anti-fraud office that was first brought to light by investigative outlet Mediapart.

During a campaign stop in Normandy, Ms Le Pen denied any wrongdoing.

“I obviously and absolutely dispute these accusations,” she said.

Ipsos-Sopra Steria surveyed 1,682 adults online from April 15 to 18, with a margin of error of 3.2 points.

Ifop-Fiducial polled 3,015 adults online from April 14 to 18, with a margin of error between 1.4 and 3.1 points.

Updated: April 18, 2022, 9:55 PM
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