After internal consultations revealed that most people would vote absent or blank on April 24, the party of far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon did not give any voting instructions. This added to uncertainty about the outcome.
After Melenchon came third in the first round of voting on April 10, with 22%, President Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are trying to get voters who voted for him.
The electorate is fragmented and undecided. It will be won by the candidate who can convince voters to vote for the better option.
Melenchon urged his supporters to not vote Le Pen after the first round. However, he did not advocate Macron and stated that his party would hold an open consultation to guide the millions of people who supported him.
Results published Sunday show that about 215,000 party sympathizers participated in the poll. More than 66% of them said they would vote for Macron, abstain or leave their ballot paper unmarked. Only 33% of respondents said they would vote to elect Macron. Respondents were not allowed to vote for Le Pen.
Melenchon’s campaign team stated on its website that “the results are not an order to vote for anyone… everyone will conclude this and vote how they see fit.”
According to pollsters, the abstention rate for Sunday’s election will be around 30%. This is similar to the previous round.
It is unclear what high abstention rates among Melenchon voters or overall would mean for either candidate. Macron and Le Pen both managed to mobilize their core support in round one, but have struggled to appeal beyond their camps.
Next Sunday’s vote will be a repeat match-up from the second round in 2017. Macron, a centrist pro-European Union Democrat, beat Le Pen easily when voters rallied behind him in order to keep her party from power.
He is perceived as having a more difficult challenge this time, but the latest opinion polls show him with a nine-ten point advantage over Le Pen.
A IPSOS-Sopra-Steria opinion survey on Saturday revealed that 33% of Melenchon voters would support Macron. Le Pen was supported by 16%. However, 51% of respondents were undecided.
A “republican front” made up of voters from all walks of the political spectrum, who support a main candidate, has been keeping the far-right away from power for decades.
Macron’s sometimes aggressive style and policies to the right have caused many voters to be upset, but they can no longer count on that sentiment.
Le Pen will be concentrating on rural, working-class Melenchon by focusing his attention on rising living costs, high fuel prices, and the impact of the conflict in Ukraine.
Macron is trying to win over the urban, educated and centre-left segments of Melenchon supporters.
He told Marseille supporters, who voted heavily for Melenchon on Saturday, that he heard them and would put his new presidency to work in France to eliminate fossil fuels. Le Pen was branded a “climate sceptic” by him.
France 3 television’s Le Pen stated that he doesn’t know the source of his claims, but that he has never been climate sceptical and that he has a program that considers ecology and the environment.
Some voters may not like Macron’s pledges to do more for the environment. Julien Bayou (head of the Green party) said that Macron was not credible when it comes to the environment.
Franceinfo radio spoke out saying that Macron had only five years to act, and that Macron’s Green call for votes was to prevent the far-right from coming to power.
Extinction Rebellion, a group of climate change activists, forced Saturday’s closure of a major square and avenue in the capital. This was to protest the environmental programs of both candidates.