Emmanuel Macron has held off a challenge from far-right leader Marine Le Pen to retain the French presidency, according to projected results from French polling agencies.
The centrist incumbent is projected to receive 58.2 percent of the vote in Sunday’s second-round runoff, versus 41.8 percent for Le Pen, his nationalist rival.
If accurate, Macron will win decisively though by a smaller margin than in 2017, when he won by more than 30 percentage points to become France’s youngest president. While falling short of the Élysée Palace again, in her third presidential run, Le Pen still looks set to secure the most votes ever for a French far-right candidate.
Le Pen’s challenge to the country’s mainstream order and the West’s unity against Russia had officials in Europe and Washington anxiously following the election amid the war in Ukraine.
After polls closed across France at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET), polling companies and media organizations worked together to publish projected results based on early voting patterns. This method has accurately predicted French elections in the past.
The final result will be announced by the country’s interior ministry on Monday.
Opinion polls put Macron about 10 points ahead in the campaign’s final days — too close for comfort for a leader who consistently urged voters not to be complacent in the face of Le Pen’s far-right threat.