Le Pen: Out of ink already?

Vladimir Putin said yesterday that he has no intention of interfering in the upcoming French presidential election during a meeting with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Even if he did, it is highly unlikely a massive swing in public opinion in France will occur before the second round of voting.

And that is essentially what Le Pen needs.

Although polls have lost some credibility after they failed to predict Brexit and Trump’s election, she is trailing her two main rivals by a considerable distance.

France’s run-off, which is the second round of voting, will take place on 7 May if no candidate wins an overall majority.

Realistically, it looks like it will be Le Pen and either Macron or Fillon who will contest the run-off.

In the polls, Le Pen and Macron are hitting the mid-twenties, while Fillon is falling behind having been tipped to become the next president until recently.

Emmanuel Macron was a member of the Socialist Party and founded En Marche! in April 2016. It is a centrist, catch-all movement which describes itself as progressive.

If Macron is successful in the first round of voting in April, pollsters are confident that he will defeat Le Pen. Over forty polls have been carried out this month. Each of them (bar one) has Macron on over 60% of the vote.

If Francois Fillon of the Republicans (formerly UMP) were to catch Macron, the run-off would be a tighter race. Polls still have Fillon winning but by a smaller margin. But as the gap has tightened somewhat since January, it is still roughly 55- 45.

And there would be a concerted effort to prevent Le Pen from winning the second round.

The anti-elite, anti-establishment candidate will be hoping to capitalise on the growing unrest in France, where there are legitimate concerns about poverty and Islamist terrorism.

Her two main rivals are pro-EU, while she has stated repeatedly that she will seek to negotiate with the EU, looking for what she sees as a better deal. If that fails, she would look at having a referendum on leaving the EU.

But Frexit seems like a long way away. Things can change quickly in these times and the polls could be underestimating Le Pen’s support or the anger in France. It’s not impossible, but it is unlikely.

For now at least, it looks like Macron will march on, marchons.

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