Incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron comfortably won re-election to serve as second term on Sunday, April 24, 2022, fending off a historic challenge from far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Macron, a centrist and the founder of La République En Marche! (LREM) political party, garnered 58.8 percent of the estimated vote in Sunday’s second-round runoff, compared with 41.5 percent for Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally political party.
French presidential elections are conducted under a two-round system. If no candidate wins a majority in the first round, a runoff is held between the two candidates with the most votes from the first round. Macron and Le Pen advanced to Sunday’s runoff after finishing in first and second place respectively among the 12 candidates who ran in the first round on April 10.
Despite Macron’s triumphant victory, his margin of victory is much smaller compared to his victory over Le Pen in the runoff in the 2017 French Presidential Election, which made him the youngest person ever to be elected as the President of France. In that election, Macron won with 66.1 percent of the vote versus Le Pen’s 33.9 percent.
By obtaining 41.5 percent of the votes in the runoff of the 2022 French Presidential election, Le Pen secured the most votes ever for a far-right candidate in a presidential election, according to multiple media outlets. The result was something she highlighted in her concession speech which she delivered just minutes after voting projections were released.
Le Pen called her results “a shining victory,” adding that “in this defeat, [she could not] help but feel a form of hope.”
Macron’s victory in the 2022 French Presidential election makes him the first French president to win a re-election bid since 2002, when then-President Jacques Chirac defeated Jean-Marie Le Pen, the father of Marine Le Pen, in a 64-point landslide.
In a victory speech at Paris' Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower, Macron vowed to be the "president for each and every one of you." Then, he proceeded to thank his supporters, who happily waved French and European Union flags while cheering Macron on at his victory rally.
The re-elected French President also directly addressed supporters for Le Pen in his speech, promising to reunite the nation that is “filled with so many doubts, so many divisions”. He noted that “numerous” voters casted their ballots him simply to prevent Le Pen, who has friendly ties to Putin and the Kremlin, from winning the French presidency.
“I also know that many of our compatriots voted for me today, not to support the ideas I hold but to block those of the extreme right," he said. "And I want to thank them here and tell them that I am aware that this vote binds me for the years to come. From now on, I am no longer the candidate of one camp but the president of all,” Macron declared in his victory speech.
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