First round of 2022 French presidential elections begins

The first round of the 2022 French presidential elections will begin today. 12 candidates are competing to enter the runoff

Posters of Macron and Marine ahead of the first round of the French presidential elections

Incumbent French President Macron will face Marine Le Pen in the first round of the 2022 French presidential elections – Photo: Sky News

The first round of the 2022 French presidential elections will begin today.

12 candidates are competing to enter the runoff round for Europe’s “most powerful presidency.” Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron of the liberal-center La Republique En Marche party is seeking a second term. His main challengers include Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Rally Party and Jean-Luc Melenchon of the left-wing La France Insoumise Party.

It’s unlikely that any candidate will win an outright majority in the first round and avoid a runoff. While Macron currently leads in the polls at 27%, his 5% lead over Le Pen has narrowed as the election draws closer. French voters are looking towards the candidates to guide them through a host of issues, including a cost-of-living crisis and a continent at war.

Expect Macron and Le Pen to advance to the runoff, mirroring the 2017 presidential election. While polls suggest Macron would beat whichever opponent also makes it to the runoff–making him the first French president in 20 years to win reelection—he is unlikely to repeat the two-to-one trouncing against Le Pen that he achieved in 2017. Macron is facing a late entry into the race and predictions of historically low turnout.

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