BRUSSELS: EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici warned Monday that although pro-Europe centrist Emmanuel Macron won the first round of France’s presidential election, far-right leader Marine Le Pen is still a contender.
Macron is the favorite to win the May 7 second round after topping Sunday’s ballot with 23.75 percent of the vote, ahead of National Front head Le Pen with 21.53 percent, as most of the losers are expected to rally to him to prevent Le Pen from becoming president.
Moscovici, a former French socialist finance minister and now EU commissioner for financial affairs, told reporters Macron’s victory was welcome but there was “bad news” too.
“Le Pen qualified for the second round; she may have scored less in percentage terms than was expected but it is frightening that she still got 7.6 million votes,” he said.
“It is too early yet to heave a sigh of relief, the election is not over,” he said.
Moscovici said he believed Le Pen would not be the next French president but feared that she could still garner about 40 percent of the vote.
“That would show a country deeply divided and we must remain on guard—We must not claim victory yet, we must fight against the false claims of the FN,” he said.
Macron “will have my vote,” he said, adding that his victory was essential to the future of France and Europe.
“The European Commission is ready to work with the new French president on how we can re-launch Europe,” he said. AFP