Macron backers erupt in jubilation as projections show significant lead on Marine Le Pen

Macron supporters celebrate after result of round one

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Supporters of Emmanuel Macron assembled at the En Marche! headquarters in Paris to view the first projections following the closure of polls on Sunday. As the screen showed a clear lead for the incumbent president, the crowd erupted into cheers as they waved the French and EU flags around. Whilst the final results are expected to come in later on Sunday and Monday morning, the projections are likely to make Mr Macron breathe a sigh of relief after the latest polls in the run-up to the vote suggested his lead was significantly reduced over Marine Le Pen.

The French leader has faced criticism for entering the campaign rather late compared to other presidential hopefuls, a strategy some analysts had suggested could backfire on him.

According to the earliest projections from IPSOS/SOPRA STERIA, Mr Macron is leading Ms Le Pen 28.1 percent to 23.3 percent.

Polls earlier this week showed the pair neck and neck at 25 percent.

As none of the candidates secured a 50 percent majority in the first round, Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen will face off in a second round of voting on April 24.

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