Prague, April 23 (CTK) – The expected victory of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the French presidential election today would be good news for France, the Czech Republic and Europe, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said on Twitter last night.
Sobotka said this in reaction to the first estimates of the election results released shortly after the polling stations closed at 20:00.
According to the estimates, Macron and Marine Le Pen, leader of the extreme right National Front, have advanced to the second round. Macron is likely to have won over 23 percent of the vote and have a lead of 1 to 2 percent over Le Pen.
Outgoing French President Francois Hollande, who did not seek re-election, already congratulated Macron on the victory in the first round.
The IFOP institute calculated that Macron won 23.8 percent, Le Pen 21.6 percent, the right-wing Francois Fillon 20.3 percent and the radical left Jean-Luc Melenchon 19.6 percent.
This result, with rather small differences between the four most successful candidates, was predicted by the opinion polls held before the election.
Czech Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said Macron has a chance to win as an effort to join forces against Marine Le Pen can be expected in France.
Fillon and socialist candidate Benoit Hamon already admitted their defeat and called on their voters to support Macron in the second round.
Opposition right-wing TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek would welcome it if the estimates of the results of the first round are confirmed because it would mean that neither nationalist nor left extremism won in France.