Marine Le Pen is one course to win the first round of voting in this year’s French presidential elections, a shock poll has revealed.
The Front National leader is still likely to lose out in the second round voting, however, as those from both left and right will unite against her, the Kantar-Sofres poll for Le Figaro suggested.
In the first-round vote in April, Ms. Le Pen would come first with 25 per cent. Conservative candidate François Fillon would garner 21-22 per cent and centrist Emmanuel Macron can expect 20-21 per cent.
In the runoff to be held on May 7th, both Mr. Fillon and Mr. Macron are projected to win if either is pitted against Ms. Le Pen, while Mr. Macron would beat Mr. Fillon in the knockout.
France: Second round of Presidential election, Kantar poll:
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) January 29, 2017
Both Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Macron’s campaigns have been boosted by a scandal engulfing their conservative rival, who is accused of giving his wife a “fake job”.
“A runoff without François Fillon is no longer ruled out,” Emmanuel Riviere at Sofres pollster told Reuters. “What boosts Emmanuel Macron’s momentum is above all Penelopegate,” he said, referring to Mr. Fillon’s wife Penelope.
Mr. Macron has also benefited from the ruling Socialist party choosing a hard-left candidate to stand against him. Benoît Hamon wants to introduce a universal basic income, legalise cannabis, and tax robots.
More bad news for Mr. Fillon is contained in the poll, which suggests he would beat Ms. Le Pen by a smaller margin than his centrist rival in the second round.
Mr. Fillion can expect 60 per cent of the vote against 40 per cent for Le Pen, while Mr. Macron would widen the gap to 65 per cent against 35 per cent, the poll indicated.
Another poll showing Ms. Le Pen taking the lead came out earlier this month. The CEVIPOF survey for Le Monde put her and the National Front (FN) with between 25 and 26 per cent of the vote on 19 January.