PARIS (AP) – The Latest on France’s presidential runoff Sunday between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen (all times local):
French President Francois Hollande says that he has called centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron to congratulate him on his election victory.
Hollande says it shows that the overwhelming majority of voters rallied behind the European Union and openness to the world.
It was Hollande who first brought Macron into the world of politics, naming the untested ex-banker as economy minister.
But Macron left the position to found his own political movement last year, and has distanced himself from his former mentor.
With nearly 20 percent of the votes counted, Macron had 60 percent of the vote to 40 percent for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, according to the Interior Ministry. The early results are primarily from provincial towns that lean more conservative than the cities, whose votes are counted later.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen says she has called centrist Emmanuel Macron to congratulate him and says the vote confirms her National Front party and its allies as the leader of France’s opposition.
Minutes after the first results were released, Le Pen said she would call for a new political force as legislative elections loom in June.
Le Pen received 35 percent of the votes cast for a candidate, according to polling agency projections, compared with 65 percent for Macron.
She hinted that her party may rename itself from the National Front, which has been dogged by allegations of racism and anti-Semitism since it was founded by her father.
France’s prime minister says that centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidential election.
Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement minutes after the last polls closed that the vote “testifies to the lucidity of the voters who rejected the deadly project of the extreme right.” He said the vote shows an embrace of the European Union.
French polling agencies have projected that Macron has defeated Marine Le Pen 65 percent to 35 percent, with a record number of blank and spoiled ballots.
Polling agencies have projected that centrist Emmanuel Macron will be France’s next president, putting a 39-year-old political novice at the helm of one of the world’s biggest economies and slowing a global populist wave.
The agencies projected that Macron defeated far-right leader Marine Le Pen 65 percent to 35 percent on Sunday.
If confirmed, Le Pen’s showing would nonetheless be stronger than her National Front party has seen in its 45-year history.
The projections are based on vote counts in selected constituencies, then extrapolated nationwide.
Macron would be the youngest French president ever.
But Le Pen’s projected showing, unusually low turnout and the record number of blank ballots are an indication of the headwinds facing Macron, a former economy minister who started his own political movement only a year ago.