CBS News, April 24, 2022
French President Emmanuel Macron comfortably won reelection to a second term Sunday, according to polling agencies’ projections. In the midst of Russia’s, the result offered the European Union the reassurance of leadership stability in the bloc’s only nuclear-armed power and was immediately hailed by France’s allies.
A second five-year term for the centrist Macron spares France and its allies the seismic upheaval of a wartime shift of power to Macron’s populist challenger Marine Le Pen, who quickly acknowledged her defeat Sunday night but still appeared on course for a best-ever showing for her fiercely nationalist far-right policies.
During her campaign, Le Pen pledged to dilute French ties with the 27-nation EU, NATO and Germany, moves that would have shaken Europe’s security architecture as the continent deals with its worst conflict since World War II. Le Pen also spoke out against EU sanctions on Russian energy supplies and faced scrutiny during the campaign over her previous friendliness with the Kremlin.
A chorus of European leaders hailed Macron’s victory. “Democracy wins, Europe wins,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
With more than three-quarters of votes counted, Macron was leading 55% to 45% for Le Pen. Polling agencies projected that once all votes are counted, Macron’s margin of victory would be well above 10 points, although smaller than when they first faced off in 2017.
Macron is the first French president in 20 years to win reelection, since incumbent Jacques Chirac trounced Le Pen’s father in 2002.
Le Pen called her results “a shining victory,” saying that “in this defeat, I can’t help but feel a form of hope.”
Breaking through the threshold of 40% of the vote is unprecedented for the French far-right. Le Pen was beaten 66% to 34% by Macron in 2017 and her father got less than 20% against Chirac.
She and hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, one of 10 candidates eliminated in the first round on April 10, both quickly pitched forward Sunday night to France’s legislative election in June, urging voters to give them a parliamentary majority to hamstring Macron.