Centrist Macron and Le Pen, a long-time standard-bearer for the French far-right, were the top two candidates in the first round of Sunday’s vote, picking up 27.8% and 23.2% of the ballots respectively, according to the French Interior Ministry.
Twelve candidates ran for the top job. Since none of them received more than 50% of the ballots in the first round, the top two candidates will face each other in a runoff on April 24.
The first round of the 2022 contest was marked by voter apathy, with participation estimated at 73.3%, according to an analysis by pollster Ifop-Fiducial for French broadcasters TF1 and LCI — the lowest in a first round in 20 years.
While Macron received more votes than any of the other candidates in the first round, he is a polarizing figure whose approval rating has sagged during his first term.
In a speech after polls closed on Sunday, he urged citizens to…