Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has reportedly taken the lead in a major survey of French voters’ intentions for the first round of their presidential election. Le Pen, who leads the right-wing populist National Front, has 25-26 percent of support, besting center-right Republican candidate Francoi Fillon, who has 23-25 percent, according to the poll conducted for CEVIPOF and Le Monde. The last time the survey was conducted, Fillon had a three-point lead. Since Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president, the French election has come under intense scrutiny as it is seen as the major European battle between anti-immigrant, populist right-wing forces and the so-called “establishment” political parties. Even if Le Pen wins the April 23 election, she is unlikely to attain a clear majority, leading to a runoff election on May 7, further diminishing her chances. The poll did not survey voters on how they’d cast a ballot in a one-on-one runoff.
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