How France voted – The New York Times

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Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency over right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen in a landslide victory that reverberated across the country. The result strengthened the European Union and showed the limits of Ms Le Pen’s far-right message.

Ms Le Pen has been strongest in areas of high unemployment and low wages, where she campaigned on pledges to stop immigration and renegotiate France’s relations with the European Union.

But Mr Macron, a political newcomer who campaigned on a centrist and pro-European platform, garnered broad support from voters who rejected him in the first round. The vote preserved a French political tradition of dominant parties working together to ban candidates from the far right, known as the Republican Front. Many voters said they saw it as the lesser of two evils.

Ms Le Pen’s only good results were in the northern and southern regions she had won decisively in the first round. But Mr Macron has conquered most demographic groups: urban, rural, places of high unemployment and low unemployment. He won nearly 90% of the votes in Paris.

The issues raised by Ms. Le Pen do not disappear. She got twice as much support as her father when he ran for president in 2002, cementing the far-right’s grip on the French political landscape.

Many French voters abstained, resulting in the worst turnout since 1969. And nearly 9% of voters cast blank ballots, a measure of discontent. Mr Macron will face the difficult task of healing a divided France and persuading the country to accept the European Union and a series of unpopular structural changes.


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