Speed Reads


Macron and Le Pen make final pitches to French voters ahead of Sunday's runoff election

Centrist French President Emmanuel Macron led right-wing challenger Marine Le Pen by around 10 points in final polling averages on Friday as campaigning ended ahead of Sunday's runoff election, The Washington Post reported.

Macron — who defeated Le Pen by a wide margin in 2017 and is seeking to become the first French president in 20 years to win a second term — said the election is "a referendum on the future of France." Le Pen has accused the incumbent of being arrogant and aloof. "It's Macron or France," she told voters, according to BBC. French law required that all campaigning cease at midnight on Friday.

On Wednesday, the two candidates faced off in a debate in which Macron sought to tie his opponent to Russian President Vladimir Putin and interrupted her repeatedly. French journalist Anne-Elisabeth Moutet told The Week after the debate that she "came out of this [debate]" feeling frustrated with both candidates and "thinking, 'I don't want to hear from these two again.'" She also predicted "record abstention" on Sunday.

According to the Post, "a Le Pen upset victory still remains a possibility," and "turnout could play a critical role in Sunday's vote."