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Voting opens in France runoff between Macron and Le Pen : NPR

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Presidential campaign posters of French President and centrist candidate for reelection Emmanuel Macron, left, and French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, in Salies de Bearn, southwestern France, Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Bob Edme/AP


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Bob Edme/AP


Presidential campaign posters of French President and centrist candidate for reelection Emmanuel Macron, left, and French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, in Salies de Bearn, southwestern France, Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Bob Edme/AP

PARIS — France began voting in a presidential runoff election Sunday in a race between between incumbent Emmanuel Macron and far-right politician Marine Le Pen.

Macron is in pole position to win reelection for a second five-year term in the country’s presidential runoff, yet his lead over Le Pen depends on one major uncertainty: voters who could decide to stay home.

A Macron victory in this vote — which could have far-reaching repercussions for Europe’s future direction and Western efforts to stop the war in Ukraine — would make him the first French president in 20 years to win a second term.

All opinion polls in recent days converge toward a win for the 44-year-old pro-European centrist — yet the margin over his 53-year-old nationalist rival varies broadly, from 6 to 15 percentage points, depending on the poll. Polls also forecast a possibly record-high number of people who will either cast a blank vote or not vote at all.

Both candidates are trying to court the 7.7 million votes of a leftist candidate defeated in the first vote. Polling stations opened at 8am on Sunday and close at 7pm in most places, apart from big cities who have chosen to keep stations open until 8pm.

For many who voted for left-wing candidates in the first round April 10, this runoff vote presents a unpalatable choice between a nationalist in Le Pen, and a president who some feel has veered to the right during his first term. The outcome could depend on how left-wing voters make up their minds: between backing Macron or abstaining and leaving him to fend for himself against Le Pen.



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