France: Second round of elections witness highest abstention level in over 50 years

France, on Sunday, held the second round of its presidential elections witnessing a cutthroat competition between incumbent Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Penn. By 5 PM (local time) the polls showed a 63.23 per cent turnout rate. Interestingly, the figure confirmed the predictions that this year’s polls would see the highest abstention level in over 50 years of the country’s history.

The main polling stations, Ipsos and Ifop reported an abstention rate of 28% at the end of the day. This marked the highest rate that the country saw since 1969. Notably, the year 2017 witnessed a close call when the rate of abstention came out to be 25%. Analysts say that the low turnout rate points out the uncertainty of public support.

Macron won the first round of polls

While Macron has pledged to strengthen France’s sovereignty and fight Islamic terrorism, Le Penn has focused on pulling her country out of the EU and altering laws of religious animal slaughter. The 44-year-old Macron won the first round of the election with 27.8% of the votes on April 10. Meanwhile, Le Pen, who received 23.1% of the first-round vote, is running for the presidency for the third time. The 53-year-old nationalist politician is aspiring to be the country’s first female president.

What do day-end projections say?

The projections have declared Emmanuel Macron victorious against his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen in the second round of France’s presidential elections. Macron, a centrist leader, secured 58.2 per cent of the votes to far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s 4.8 per cent. If the projections turn out accurate, it would mark the first time in two decades that the French population re-elects their incumbent president. In 2002, RPR leader Jacques Chirac won re-election by a landslide vote.

What do opinion polls say?

Notably, all recent opinion polls have pointed to the 44-year-old pro-European centrist winning, although the margin over his 53-year-old nationalist opponent varies widely, ranging from 6 to 15 percentage points, depending on the poll. According to reports, a record-high percentage of individuals will either vote blank or not vote at all.

(Image: AP)

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