PARIS, March 5 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s lead over rival candidates ahead of next month’s election has grown in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a poll published on Saturday by Le Monde newspaper.
The Sopra Steria poll showed Macron winning 30.5% of votes in the first round of voting on April 10, up from 26.5% a week earlier.
Macron’s closest challenger in the first round was Marine Le Pen, of the far-right Rassemblement National party, with 14.5% of votes, compared with 15.5% last week.
In the second and final vote, due on April 24, Macron was seen beating Le Pen by 59% to 41%.
Macron has led European efforts in trying to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis. He met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last month, and has spoken to Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden to try and mediate in the crisis.
Russia’s invasion has put Macron’s far-right rivals on the backfoot, forcing the usually Russophile Le Pen and Eric Zemmour to justify their past support for Putin.
Macron officially launched his re-election campaign earlier this week, saying he was there to defend the values of France that “the world’s disorders are threatening.”
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Mike Harrison)
Photo French President Emmanuel Macron (C) chairs a Defense Council regarding Russia’s attack to Ukraine, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 28 February 2022. Russian troops entered Ukraine on 24 February prompting the country’s president to declare martial law and triggering a series of severe economic sanctions imposed by Western countries on Russia. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT / POOL