PARIS — Centrist Emmanuel Macron and populist Marine Le Pen will go up against each other in a run-off election May 7 after finishing first and second, respectively, in Sunday’s presidential election in France.
Exit polls gave Macron 23.7 percent with Le Pen as a close second at 21.7 percent. Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon and conservative Francois Fillion were tied in third place at 19 percent.
The election has been hyped up as one of the most open in decades. Candidates from both sides of the political spectrum have been in contention until the very end.
Macron is considered a political “centrist” who wants to maintain strong relations with the European Union. Le Pen wants the country to leave the EU and impose a moratorium on all immigration.
The last week of the campaign was overshadowed by a terror attack Thursday on Champs-Elysees in Paris. Some 50,000 police and military officers have been deployed across the country to ensure people’s safety during the last week of the election.
Terrorism is expected to be a deciding factor in the run-off election.
Le Pen called for the expulsion of terror suspects and the immediate closure of France’s borders after Thursday’s attack.
“This war against us is ceaseless and merciless,” she said in an address Friday, lambasting the “monstrous totalitarian ideology” behind the attack.
Macron accused his competitors of making false promises to the people, and said the threat will remain for several years.
“There’s no such thing as zero risk,” Macron said. “Anyone who pretends [otherwise] is both irresponsible and deceitful.”
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