France election polls: Tragedy for Le Pen as Macron gets new key contender

France elections: Expert says ‘anything is possible in 2022’

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The countdown to the French election in April 2022 is on and the list of colourful politicians vying to take down the incumbent President Emmanuel Macron is growing larger. Michel Barnier, Marine Le Pen, Eric Zemmour and Xavier Bertrand have created quite a stir in the presidential election race already with experts keenly observing the impact of popular public figures including Mr Barnier and Mr Zemmour will have on the polls and result.

The most recent poll from Ifop-Fiducial for Le Figaro and TV station LCI, published by BFM TV revealed Mr Zemmour is likely to win the first-round vote.

He is predicted to win 17 percent support in the first round of voting – which is eight percentage points behind the projected result for Mr Macron on 25 percent.

His right-wing rival Marine Le Pen won support from 16 percent of respondents.

The Conservative Xavier Bertrand garnered 13 percent support if he wins the primary for the Les Republicains party.

The latest poll is a shock for many as Ms Le Pen has, for more than a year, easily been the likely contender to make it through to the second round.

However, with Mr Zemmour’s entry into the polls, the right-wing commentator, who has not yet officially announced his intention to run in the race, has taken many votes which likely would have gone to Ms Le Pen.

An October 6 Harris Interactive poll showed the talk-show host winning 17 percent in round one, up four points on a late September poll and ahead of Ms Le Pen’s 15 percent.

An October 22 poll by Ipsos Sopra Steria also put Mr Zemmour in the run-off vote, with 16 to 16.5 percent in round one vs 15 to 16 percent for Ms Le Pen.

Mr Macron is currently ahead in the poll aggregator tool created by Politico.

The platform shows Mr Macron currently has 24 percent support, which is followed by Mr Zemmour at 17 percent and Ms Le Pen at 16 percent.

Mr Bertrand follows behind with 13 percent, while the National Assembly member Jean-Luc Melenchon has support from nine percent according to the poll aggregator.

The President of the Hauts-de-France region is the current frontrunner in the race of five people vying for the nomination of Les Republicains.

In the first of four debates on Monday, the five contenders sparred in a bid to convince 120,000 Republican Party members to back their bid.

Candidates touched on topics including nuclear power, public sector job cuts, among other policy areas.

During the debate, the EU’s former Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier called for a ban on headscarves in universities.

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The candidates were quick to criticise the incumbent French President.

Mr Bertrand said: “French people want to turn the page on Macron because he’s failed.

“I’m convinced I’m the one who can beat him. It’s not the extremes that can beat him.”

However, despite this criticism, no recent polls suggest any of the Republican Party candidates are likely to make it beyond the first round of the two-stage election.

Mr Macron is still seen as the favourite to win next April, but the election remains highly unpredictable – especially with Mr Zemmour splitting the far-right vote and drawing conservatives from the Republican Party.

Mr Zemmour and Mr Macron have yet to officially throw their hats into the race.

Speaking to BFM on Sunday, Mr Zemmour controversially said women earned less than men because they chose low-paying professions.

He also told the TV station that an organisation has been set up which is preparing for a possible bid.

The political pundit told BFM: “Everything is ready. All I have to do is decide and push the button. I decide when and how.”

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