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Le Pen would beat Macron if French presidential vote repeated: poll

#Pen #beat #Macron #French #presidential #vote #repeated #poll

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen would beat Emmanuel Macron if the presidential election of last year were repeated now, a shock poll suggested Wednesday on the eve of fresh protests against the government’s pension reform.

The survey from the Elabe group for the BFM TV channel indicated Le Pen would score 55 percent and President Macron 45 percent if they faced each other in a run-off vote.

Last April, Macron defeated Le Pen by a margin of 58.5 percent to 41.5 percent to become the first French president to win a second term in two decades.

“Emmanuel Macron would struggle to retain his electorate, only seven out of 10 would vote for him again under this hypothesis,” Bernard Sananes, head of Elabe, told BFM. “And the blocking vote (against the far-right) would be much lower.”

He said Le Pen’s gains were “spectacular” and “she would progress in all electoral categories.” 

Sananes stressed that the polling was hypothetical and the results should not be over-interpreted, given that the next presidential election is four years away and Macron will be ineligible to run again.

But the results give a snapshot of changing dynamics in French politics, with Le Pen widely seen as the biggest winner from months of protests over Macron’s unpopular bid to raise the retirement age to 64 from 62 currently. 

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has backed protesters and strikers, has lost support, the Elabe poll and another on Monday by the Ifop-Fiducial survey group suggested.

The Ifop-Fiducial survey group also found a sharp increase in support for Le Pen, who has made clear she intends to stand for president for a fourth time in 2027.

Politicians across the spectrum have repeatedly warned in recent months that the 54-year-old stands to gain from the turmoil sweeping the country, as well as longstanding concerns about crime and immigration.

Le Pen has kept a relatively low-profile during huge protests and strikes, keeping her public statements to a minimum and maintaining discipline among her 88 MPs in parliament who form the largest single opposition group.

“At least I’ve succeeded in winning over my political opponents,” Le Pen quipped to AFP in an interview last month. “They seem to spend their lives telling everyone that I will be the next president.”

The prospect of the far-right leader succeeding Macron at the next election in 2027 is said by allies to gnaw at the 45-year-old president. 

“It’s the issue that haunts Emmanuel,” a senior lawmaker who knows the president well told AFP recently.

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