Macron holds off Le Pen challenge to retain French presidency

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Macron holds off Le Pen challenge to retain French presidency

According to French polling agencies, Emmanuel Macron has held off a challenge from far-right leader Marine Le Pen to retain the French presidency.

The centrist incumbent is projected to receive between 57 and 58.5 percent of the vote in Sunday's second round runoff, versus 41.5 to 43 percent for Le Pen, his nationalist rival.

Macron will win, if accurate, by a smaller margin than in 2017 when he won by more than 30 percentage points to become France's youngest president. While falling short of the lys e palace again, Le Pen still looks to have secured the most votes for a French far-right candidate in her third presidential run.

Le Pen's challenge to the country's mainstream order and the West's unity against Russia had officials in Europe and Washington anxiously following the election in Ukraine.

She is sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin and skeptical of NATO and the European Union.

Le Pen conceded defeat in a speech to supporters shortly after the projections were released, but said her unprecedented vote was a shining victory in itself. She said that the ideas we represent are reaching summits.

After the polls closed, France closed at 8 p.m. local time 2 p.m. ET polling companies Opinionway, Harris and Ifop worked with media organizations to publish projected results based on early voting patterns. This method has predicted French elections in the past.

The final result will be announced on Monday by the country's interior ministry.