Macron and Le Pen on top in French presidential election

First place winner and centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron will face anti-establishment, nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round of France’s 2017 presidential elections.

For the first time in modern French history, no presidential contender from either of the major parties has appeared to come out on top in the first round of the election process.

Exit polls project that centrist Emmanuel Macron will squeeze by a first place victory against 10 other presidential contenders, accruing  23% of the vote. Marine Le Pen, candidate of the nationalist, anti-establishment National Front will come out just behind Macron with approximately 22% of the vote.

Two other top contenders for presidency included center-right candidate Francois Fillon, representing Les Republicains, and far-left, anti-establishment Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Both won about 19% of the vote.

The results of the presidential election’s first round lays the path for a final showdown between Macron and Le Pen in a runoff, second round on May 7.

Although Le Pen’s success in the first round is no doubt significant, it is widely expected for Macron to be the victor in a head-to-head contest.

This is not the first time the National Front succeeded in reaching the second round. In 2002, National Front candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, Le Pen’s father, managed to move on to the second round, subsequently losing to former president Jacques Chirac.

Over the weekend, Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar called for Jews to leave France if Le Pen ends up victorious in the presidential elections.

“If Marine Le Pen is elected president of France, the Jews must leave,” Rabbi Lazar said. “The situation (in France) is very worrying not only because of immigrants, but also because the general population is heading toward radicalization.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News