LA COURNEUVE, FRANCE (APRIL 23, 2017) (REUTERS) – “One step away” reads the front page of Liberation, with the photograph of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron splashed across the cover for its Monday (April 24) edition.
Centre-left-leaning paper Liberation was uncertain of who would top the polls up until the last minute, and journalists scrambled on Sunday (April 23) to piece the edition together after the results were revealed around 8 p.m.
The paper is printing 170,000 copies, more than double its usual 70,000 daily print, hoping to cash in on favourite Macron’s success.
The former banker won the first round of voting in France’s election on Sunday and is already being tipped as the winner of the run-off vote against National Front leader Marine Le Pen on May 7.
Little more than a year ago, the presidency was but a distant dream.
Then French economy minister, Macron had kept his ambitions relatively quiet. He was certainly not scouted as a frontrunner.
Though the 39-year-old is a comparative political novice who has never held elected office, new opinion polls on Sunday had him easily winning the final clash against the 48-year-old Le Pen.
Conceding defeat even before figures from the count came in, rival conservative and Socialist candidates urged their supporters now to put their energies into backing Macron and stopping any chance of a second-round victory by Le Pen, whose anti-immigration and anti-Europe policies they said spelled disaster for France.