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Le Pen’s Hopes Of Becoming President Come Down To One Factor

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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French populist Marine Le Pen’s hope of winning the presidential election comes down to how many voters stay home on election day.

Le Pen finished second in the first round of voting Sunday and she will now face centrist Emmanuel Macron in a run-off election. Polls give Macron a 20-point advantage, which has forced Le Pen to take a break from her role as National Front leader to focus on the campaign.

The voter turnout is expected to drop significantly from the first round, as many people will boycott the election in protest of the available alternatives. This is good news for the National Front, a party that often fails in run-off elections where people mobilize to block them.

“The risk of mass voter abstention – given that the second round falls on the Sunday of a long weekend – is also significant,”Jérôme Fenoglio, director of Le Monde newspaper, wrote in an op-ed. “Macron now has less than 15 days to prove to reluctant voters that he understands the magnitude of the shock suffered by the French political system.”

Several of the losing candidates urged their supporters to back Macron in the run-off vote. (RELATED: French Politicians Make Desperate Call To Block Le Pen Presidency)

“There’s no choice but to vote against extremism,” conservative candidate Francois Fillon said in his concession speech.

Communist-backed Jean-Luc Mélenchon did not make an endorsement after finishing fourth. Some 42 percent of his voters are expected to abstain from voting in the second round.

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