Francois Fillon looks likely to triumph over Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election runoff in May, with 66 percent of vote shown as going to the center-right candidate, the latest opinion poll by the Elabe Institute shows.




The survey indicated that Fillon (Les Republicains) and Le Pen (Front National) will take the lead after the first round of voting in April, and will get to the runoff. In the later ballot, scheduled for May, Fillon looks very likely to get 66 percent of the vote, while Le Pen is to receive 34 percent.


The survey shows that third place would go to the independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, economy minister in current President Francois Hollande’s government and an investment banker, while the far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon comes in fourth.


The poll was carried out online on September 28-29, and involved 941 voters as a representative group.


Hollande’s ratings have been going steadily down, with a drop from 17 percent in August to 15 percent in September, and continued sliding to the lowest figure in the history of the French presidency – 4 percent – according to polls by Ipsos, Elabe for Radio Classique, and Les Echos daily.


However, despite the downfall in the public eye, several days ago Hollande signaled that he was preparing to seek re-election. He apparently believes he can unite the left against Fillon.


“[The president] knows the situation is complicated for him but he’s also extraordinarily self-confident,” a person with knowledge of the situation told the Financial Times. “First, we were told Nicolas Sarkozy was the easiest candidate to defeat; then Alain Juppé was beatable because he was a ‘bad campaigner’. Now we’re told Fillon is the perfect candidate for the left.”


Fillon, a former prime minister, has largely been regarded as the presidential race’s underdog, being branded by ex-President Sarkozy as “an employee.” That was until a few weeks ago, when he convincingly beat both his former boss and the frontrunner Juppe.