Emmanuel Macron 'wants to lead EU project' says Allen

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A Harris Interactive poll, published on Wednesday after surveying 1,310 French voters, is the first since Mr Macron won the presidency in 2017 to upend widely held expectations he will face a repeat knockout contest against far-right leader Marine Le Pen next April. So who is in the running to be the next leader of France?

Emmanuel Macron

The current leader of France is currently still likely to be leader following the election in April – but it could be a tough road ahead for the incumbent.

Mr Macron would win 55 percent of the vote in a second-round contest, according to the Harris Interactive poll.

It suggested he would beat his long-time competitor Marine Le Pen by a margin of 53 to 47 percent, if she managed to pass through to the second round.

READ MORE: Macron election nightmare: 42 percent of French snub President 

Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen has already lost to Mr Macron once before, in 2017, when he beat her taking 66 percent of the vote.

Over the years, she has sought to distance herself from her firebrand father and reposition the party – since rebranded the National Rally – as a mainstream nationalist group.

It is rumoured that she has privately asked her competitor Eric Zemmour to stand aside.

Eric Zammour

Eric Zammour, a far-right TV pundit who holds convictions for inciting hatred, could shape up to be a frontrunner for the Elysee in April next year.

He dubs the supposed loss of white French identity and values by Muslims as the “great replacement”, and has bizarrely warned of an impending civil war.

He has managed to encroach on Le Pen’s supporters, overtaking her in a recent poll to gain 17 percent on Ms Le Pen’s 15 percent for the centre-right ticket into office for the first round.

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Speaking to journalists on Monday night after a sold-out debate show at a conference hall in Paris, Mr Zammour put his popularity down to his ability to connect with the concerns of ‘regular people’.

He said: ”I think many French people were waiting for this message, that someone speaks to them about France, about how they feel.

“The country is in danger of dying, subverted by an unprecedented wave of migration, that whole areas of the country have become enclaves of foreign Islamists.”

Mr Zammour has not yet formally put himself forward for the presidency.

Xavier Bertrand

Xavier Bertrand is a former minister who now leads the Hauts-de-France region in northern France.

A former insurance man, Mr Bertrand says he has always been mocked in elite Parisian circles due to his humble beginnings.

He has rejected the prospect of a primary for the leader of the Les Republicains party, which sits to the centre-right, but has put himself forward as a candidate in the summer.

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