Speed Reads

five more years

Macron defeats Le Pen 58-42 in French presidential election, according to early projections

Centrist French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday became the first French president in 20 years to win a second term, defeating right-wing challenger Marine Le Pen by a margin of around 16 percentage points, The New York Times reports.

Early projections, which the Times notes are "generally reliable," show Macron with 58.2 percent of the vote to Le Pen's 41.8 percent.

Le Pen, who strove throughout the campaign to soften her image as a far-right extremist, improved considerably on her performance in 2017, when Macron trounced her 66–34. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, suffered an even more dramatic loss in 2002, when incumbent center-right President Jacques Chirac defeated him 82–18.

Roger Cohen of The New York Times argued that Marine Le Pen's performance on Sunday indicates that her National Rally Party has now "joined the mainstream, ending the taboo that held that defense of the Republic meant keeping the far right at the margins."

As France's political margins have moved toward the mainstream, the two parties that previously occupied the mainstream have receded to the margins. France's center-right party — Les Républicains — received less than 5 percent of the vote in the first round. France's center-left Socialist Party performed even worse, netting less than 2 percent of the first-round vote.