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French presidential election candidate for the 'En Marche!' (Onwards!) political movement, Emmanuel Macron celebrates after the first round of the French presidential elections in Paris, France, 23 April 2017. EFE/EPA/YOAN VALAT
French presidential election candidate for the 'En Marche!' (Onwards!) political movement, Emmanuel Macron celebrates after the first round of the French presidential elections in Paris, France, 23 April 2017. EFE/EPA/YOAN VALAT

Presidential Elections in France: En Marche!

As a result of the first round of French presidential elections, Emmanuel Macron (center) and Marine Le Pen (far right) are the French people's favorite…

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After a heavily divided electoral campaign, the French nation went to the polls today to choose between 11 candidates their favorite two, who will be fighting for the presidency in the second round.

Jacques Cheminade (Solidarity and Progress), Nathalie Arthaud (Workers' Struggle), François Asselineau (Republican People's Union), Philippe Poutou (New Anti-Capitalist Party), Jean Lassalle (We Resist), Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (France First), Benoît Hamon (Socialist Party), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Insubordinate France), François Fillon (Republicans), Marine Le Pen (National Front) and Emmanuel Macron (En Marche!) were the candidates for the first round of elections on Sunday.

In spite of such an extensive grid of candidates, the favorites of the French population were Macron, Le Pen, Fillon, and Mélenchon who, in an aggressive debate backed by the isolationist revival, the Brexit and the triumph of Donald Trump, attempted to convince the voters to choose them for the final bid.

With 77.3% participation, an attendance higher than that of the 2012 elections, the Election Day took place in a climate of tense normality, after the terrorist attack on the Champs Elysees (Paris) on Thursday.

At 20:00, the statistics company Ipsos-Sopra Steria published the first results, with France Télévisions, Radio France and Le Monde, giving Emmanuel Macron a 23.9% and Marine Le Pen 21.7%.

Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon acknowledged his defeat and urged citizens to "strongly fight the National Front," claiming that he will vote for Emmanuel Macron, an initiative that was joined by Republican candidate François Fillon and French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Macron (Amiens, 1977), is a specialist in banking investment and economic adviser to the current President François Hollande who, during his administration, appointed him minister of Economy, Productive Recovery and Digital Affairs, position of which he would resign on August 30, 2016 to devote himself fully to the political party he had founded called En Marche!, whose initials coincide with those of the candidate. Although Macron had a trajectory like militant of the socialist party, when resigning to his post as Minister, he made a public declaration on its simultaneous resignation of the socialist lines.

Macron is considered the candidate of "fusion", because his campaign has been based on the unification of the left and the right, appealing to historical figures like the one of General De Gaulle, who at the end of the decade of the 50 achieved the unification of the people’s opinions under the Union movement for a New Republic.

Emmanuel Macron is a convinced Europeanist, who proposes a reformulation of the French economic system, being the favorite of the intellectual and economic elites that dominate the European country.

His opponent, Marine Le Pen represents the opposite. Lawyer and president of the political party that her father founded, National Front, Le Pen has been persecuted by the same ghost that tarnished her father's party: that of fascism, which she has not helped to disprove. In July 2013, when she was a Member of the European Parliament, the Parliament removed her parliamentary immunity for "incitement to racial hatred".

Le Pen has always been clear about her political positions, asserting that the French state needs the possibility of a referendum, the debate between life imprisonment and the death penalty, the abandonment of the European Union "to restore the French borders", economic protectionism, a "citizenship by points" (that allows to identify those immigrants who commit crimes in national territory) and the abandonment of NATO.

But the spearhead of Le Pen's electoral campaign was Islamophobia and the promise of "returning France to the French."

"Le Pen promises that she will protect the stranded French from the forces of globalization and immigration", wrote Marc Bassets in a column for El País, asserting that the candidate's strategy was to appeal to that working mass that "Forty years ago would have voted for the Communist Party and today, what remains of it, can be thrown into the arms of the National Front."

Voilà. These are the candidates for the presidency of France, whose final date will be May 7. This is the moment when one of the main drivers of the European ideal could definitely change the international political landscape.

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