03:31 GMT28 September 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron and the head of the right-wing National Rally party, Marine Le Pen, remain on leading positions in competition for the post of the president, with around 28 percent willing to vote for each if an election was held this week, the IFOP polling institute announced on Monday.

    "The two candidates who were opposed in the last presidential election still clearly dominate the first-round electoral force ratio with a lead of about fifteen points over the LR [The Republicans] candidate," the pollster said.

    Voting intentions are not a prediction of results, but give an indication of the balance of power on the day of the survey.

    IFOP added that Macron’s index of voting intentions has increased since the 2017 presidential election despite criticism over his management of the COVID-19 crisis.

    Assuming a second-round face-off between leading candidates Macron and Le Pen, the competition between them would be much tighter than in 2017, with 55 percent supporting the current president, against 45 percent willing to vote for the head of the National Rally party.

    In the 2017 presidential election, Emmanuel Macron won the first round with 24 percent, against 21.3 percent for Le Pen. The second round brought Macron victory with 66.1 percent against 33.9 percent for Le Pen.

    Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron, France
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