New French election poll shows Macron would beat main conservative challenger Pécresse

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  • Emmanuel Macron
    Emmanuel Macron
    President of France
  • Éric Zemmour
    French essayist and polemist

Conservative challenger Valérie Pécresse could run French President Emmanuel Macron close in the second round of this year's election if she can squeeze past right-wing rivals in round one, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

The poll by Harris Interactive for the magazine Challenges makes Macron the election's likely winner, in line with recent surveys that have shown his closest opponents failing to gather momentum despite criticism of Macron's Covid-19 policies.

The poll showed Macron would get 24% of votes in the first round of the election. Far-right politicians Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour and conservative Pécresse were all tied on 16%.

The poll said Macron would win in April's run-off vote, estimating a margin of 51-49% if he faces Pécresse, 55-45% against Le Pen, and 61-39% against Zemmour.

LR’s first female presidential candidate

In December, France's conservative party chose Pécresse, the moderate chief of the Paris region, to challenge Macron next year, a choice that will likely have major influence on the shape of the campaign.

Members of Les Républicans (LR) in the primary run-off vote chose Pécresse, who will be its first-ever female presidential candidate and presents herself as a voice of moderation, over hardliner Éric Ciotti.

She campaigned on promises to halve the number of residence permits for non-EU migrants, stiffen judicial sentences in tough neighbourhoods where police are under pressure, and ban women accompanying their children on school trips from wearing a Muslim headscarf.

"The Republican right-wing is back. It will fight with implacable will. France cannot wait any more," Pécresse said, promising to make France "respected in the world".

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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