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Failed Candidate for Establishment Right Backs Macron, Not Le Pen

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The candidate for the establishment-right Républicains (Republicans) has urged voters to back the left-liberal Emmanuel Macron, not the national conservative Marine Le Pen, as exit polls indicate her own performance in the first round of France’s presidential elections was a dismal failure.

Valerie Pecresse, whose party is roughly equivalent to America’s Republicans or Britain’s Conservatives in terms of its former dominance of the French right electorally, may have collapsed to less than 5 per cent of the vote in the first round of the country’s presidential elections — a historically poor result described as “catastrophic” by French media.

The establishment rightist has urged her supporters to back not fellow conservative Marine Le Pen in the second round run-off vote, however, but President Macron, despite his being a government minister for the establishment left Socialist Party prior to his first run for the presidency in 2017.

Pecresse claimed in her concession speech that Le Pen’s “historical proximity with Vladimir Putin discredits her from defending the interests of our country in these tragic times” and that her “election would mean that France would become irrelevant on the European and international scenes.”

She added that despite her supposedly “strong disagreement” with Macron she would “vote for him in order to stop Marine Le Pen.”

Marine Le Pen appears to have slightly increased her share of the vote in this year’s first-round voting compared to 2017.

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon came in third place with around a fifth of the vote, similar to his 2017 performance, while the Socialist Party for which Macron was once a minister and which held the presidency until 2017 has collapsed to around two per cent from an already abysmal 6.4 per cent in the previous election.

The disintegration of both the French Republicans and the Socialist Party represents a sea-change in the country’s politics, which the supposedly rival parties both urging their former voter bases to coalesce around the supposedly “centrist” Macron while the once-fringe, populist-leaning politics of Le Pen has risen to the status of mainstream opposition and, potentially, government.

Populist right-wing rival Eric Zemmour, who has captured many headlines over the course of the campaign, appears to have slightly underperformed compared to pre-election polling, with around 7 per cent of the vote.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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