French Elections: Here's what's next as France decides between Macron and Le Pen


On Sunday, two candidates, centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, won enough votes to advance to the second round of the French presidential election.

The stunning first round winners meant that the two main political parties in France, the conservative Républicains party and Socialist party, failed to advance for the first time since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958, according to the Telegraph. So, with the first round of voting over, what happens next?

Campaigning continues

Claude Paris/AP

Both Macron and Le Pen will ramp up their presidential campaigning over the next few weeks to help shore up and convince any undecided voters. For Macron, this feat may be a bit easier, as he now has the backing of France's two main political parties after they both failed to make it on the final ballot. Le Pen, however, is not so lucky, and is even being publicly criticized by her own father, far-right veteran Jean-Marie Le Pen, over what he believes are soft campaign tactics.

"I think her campaign was too laid-back. If I'd been in her place I would have had a Trump-like campaign, a more open one, very aggressive against those responsible for the decadence of our country, whether left or right," the 88-year-old Le Pen told RTL radio.

Both candidates appeared on Tuesday at an event to commemorate the police officer killed in France's latest terrorist attack, the Guardian reported. Campaigning must come to a complete standstill at midnight on Friday, May 5, according to French law, to give voters a full day without the political madness.

Live debate

Lionel Bonaventure/AP

Macron and Le Pen will face off in a live television debate on Wednesday, May 3, just four days before the second round of the election. The debate will likely touch on hot-button issues for both candidates, including Le Pen's belief that France should have its very own "frexit" and leave the European Union behind, as well as shore up its borders and slash legal immigration from 200,000 to no more than 10,000 people a year.

Voting on May 7

Philippe Wojazer/AP

On Sunday, May 7, French voters will head to the polls for the final round of the presidential election. Polls open at 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., depending on location, according to ABC. The final winner will likely be announced Sunday night. Though no official inauguration date is set, the handoff of power usually occurs about 10 days after the election and will likely coincide with a very lavish affair, according to the Telegraph.