Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker with little political experience, was well ahead in France’s presidential election on Sunday, suggesting that his call for a new centrist approach to politics would handily defeat the staunch nationalism of his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, according to projections based on preliminary results.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. in France, and official results will be tabulated through the night.
If he wins, Mr. Macron, 39, will become the youngest president in the 59-year history of France’s Fifth Republic, after leading an improbable campaign that amounted to a stinging rebuke of the country’s long-dominant political establishment.
A victory by Mr. Macron would also offer significant relief to the European Union, which Ms. Le Pen had threatened to leave, a step that would have fundamentally destabilized the bloc. With elections approaching in Germany and perhaps Italy this year, the results in France were being closely watched as a barometer of the lingering strength of a populist wave that swept Britain out of the E.U. and Donald J. Trump into the White House.
The French election took on global import for magnifying many of the broader tensions rippling through other Western democracies, including the United States: populist anger at the political establishment; economic insecurity among middle class voters; public alienation toward mainstream political parties; rising resentment toward immigrants.
Source/More: The New York Times