Macron defeats Le Pen 58-42 in the French presidential election, according to the first projections

Centrist French President Emmanuel Macron became the first French president in 20 years to win a second term on Sunday, beating right-wing challenger Marine Le Pen by a margin of around 16 points, The New York Times reports.

The first projections, which the Time the ratings are “generally reliable”, show Macron with 58.2% of the vote against 41.8% for Le Pen.

Le Pen, who has struggled throughout the campaign to soften her image as a far-right extremist, improved her performance considerably in 2017, when Macron beat her 66-34. His father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, suffered an even more dramatic loss in 2002, when centre-right incumbent Jacques Chirac beat him 82-18.

Roger Cohen of The New York Times argued that Marine Le Pen’s performance on Sunday indicates that her National Rally party has now “joined the mainstream, ending the taboo that defending the Republic meant keeping the far right on the fringes”.

As France’s political margins have moved towards the mainstream, the two parties that previously occupied the mainstream have moved back towards the margins. France’s center-right party — Les Républicains — won less than 5% of the vote in the first round. France’s centre-left Socialist Party fared even worse, winning less than 2% of the vote in the first round.

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