French far-left candidate won't concede defeat

 

French far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has refused to concede defeat in the first-round presidential vote. In a defiant speech to supporters, he says that he will continue to await results that -- with 50 percent of the vote counted -- put him clearly in fourth place. Votes from France's cities, where Melenchon draws his support, aren't yet in the tally. Supporters for Emmanuel Macron, the candidate leading in the first round, according to polling projections, also tend to be urban French. With 50 percent of the vote counted, Macron had 22 percent, far-right leader Marine Le Pen had 24 percent, conservative Francois Fillon had 20 percent and Melenchon had 18 percent.French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has claimed victory in the first-round presidential race and says that her National Front party will represent "the great alternative" to the French people. With a broad smile, Le Pen has stood before an adoring crowd and pledged to open a much-needed debate on globalization. Her speech ended with the French national anthem. Le Pen has campaigned to leave the European Union, protect France's borders, clamp down on immigration, and expel Islamic extremists. Her success, along with that of centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron, leaves the May 7 runoff without a mainstream political candidate for the first time in modern French history. The early vote count includes primarily rural constituencies that lean to the right, while urban areas that lean left are counted later. Both candidates will advance to the May 7 runoff after their rivals conceded defeat. For the first time in modern French history, no mainstream party candidate is advancing, upending the country's political system. Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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