French election results: Macron defeats Le Pen to become President

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The French election results show Emmanuel Macron has beat Marine Le Pen to become President of France, with early predictions showing that 65 per cent of the country voted for him.

Such a comfortable Macron win was be in line with what pollsters have been saying for weeks, with most polls saying that the 39-year-old centrist would win with a lead of around 20 points.

His final lead, of 30 points, dwarved even this.

Macron swept the board geographically, with Le Pen winning just a handful of France's departments.

Even in areas that heavily backed the far-right candidate in the first round, such as the north-east of the country, voters turned to Macron when it mattered.

Over a quarter of French people were estimated to have abstained in the second round of the election.

This seems to confirm fears over the most recent polls, which had been indicating that large numbers of supporters for the conservative Francois Fillon and the far-Left Jean-Luc Mélenchon decided to stay at home on election day.

The vote is after Macron won the first round of voting on 23 April with 23.8 per cent of the vote, while Le Pen came in second place with 21.5 per cent.

Macron and Le Pen both progressed from the first round in the race for the French presidency, after securing 45.3 per cent of the vote between them.

As the top two candidates, they were then pitted against each other again in the second round.

Of the nine elections since the Fifth Republic's first direct presidential election in 1965, three have seen the winner of the first round lose out in the second. This led to the elections of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1974, François Mitterrand in 1981 and Jacques Chirac in 1995.

Macron was widely tipped to win before the vote. In the Telegraph's poll tracker, the final polling average predicted that he would take 62 per cent of the vote in the second-round run-off against Le Pen.

It was expected that Macron - a centrist - would be able to attract a wider spectrum of second-round voters than Le Pen, pulling in left-leaning voters from Hamon and Mélenchon as well as those leaning to the right who voted Fillon in the first round.

The first round showcased an East-West divide in France

Marine Le Pen achieved her highest vote shares in the North East of France when she failed to make the second round in 2012.

It was no different this time around with there being a clear East-West divide in the way that the country voted on Sunday.

Le Pen attracted her highest vote share in the department of Aisne, to the North East of Paris. More than one in three votes went to the Front National leader in Aisne - double the number that went to Macron.

However, support for Le Pen within Paris was conspicuous by its absence. Fewer than one in 20 voters cast their ballots for the far-right leader. This is a lower proportion than who did so in 2012.

Three days on from a terror attack in the capital that claimed the life of a police officer, it makes Paris one of just four areas of the country where Front National support fell compared to 2012.

Macron scooped up 34.8 per cent of the vote in Paris, his strongest area of support.

Aside from in Paris, though, Macron's vote share tended to be higher in the North western areas of France; areas like Ille et Vilaine and Finistere in Brittany.

Education and employment were driving factors

Pollingprior to the election indicated that two of the biggest dividing factors between Macron and Le Pen supporters would be education and employment. And so it proved.

In much the same way that one of Donald Trump's main pledges was to provide more jobs for Americans, Le Pen's brand of nationalism also promised to boost the economic prospects of French citizens.

This cut through in 2012 and has done the trick again in 2017 with areas of low economic activity far more likely to vote for her than for Macron.