With 97 percent of votes counted, Macron was on course for a solid 57.4 percent of the vote, interior ministry figures showed.
Minutes after Macron was projected to be the winner, Le Pen conceded defeat via her social media. She said the election was still a win for her political movement.
“The French showed this evening a desire for a strong counterweight against Emmanuel Macron, for an opposition that will continue to defend and protect them,” Le Pen told supporters on Sunday. Macron, meanwhile, said that the result was a victory for “a more independent France and a stronger Europe.”
Le Pen broke through the threshold of 40 percent of the vote, which is unprecedented for French nationalist parties. In 2017, Le Pen only won 34 percent of the vote to Macron’s 66 percent.
Macron, 44, and Le Pen, 53, have competing visions for France, with Macron seeking to continue introducing neoliberal politics into the country. Le Pen, supported by France’s right-wing, has focused her campaign on the rising cost of living in France, while also describing Macron as an elitist with contempt for working people—including his rhetoric last year that targeted unvaccinated French and during the “yellow vest” protests against globalists in 2018.
Le Pen had promised sharp cuts to fuel tax, zero-percent sales tax on essential items from pasta to diapers, income exemptions for young workers, and a “French first” stance on jobs and welfare. Macron had claimed Le Pen had a pro-Moscow stance and said she couldn’t be trusted amid the conflict in Ukraine, something she had denied.
Turnout in the second round was low on Sunday, according to figures released through the government, French media reported. As of Sunday, it stood at about 62 percent, the lowest in decades.