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Macron celebrates his victory during a rally at the Champ de Mars in Paris.

JB Autissier/Panoramic

Macron beats Le Pen, encore

Sometimes the polls aren’t wrong. On Sunday, centrist French President Emmanuel Macron defeated far-right hopeful Marine Le Pen in a rerun of their 2017 presidential runoff.

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Campaign posters of President Emmanuel Macron and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

Xose Bouzas / Hans Lucas

What if Le Pen leads France?

The results are in from the first round of France’s nail-biter of a presidential election. Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right National Rally, has come in four points behind the incumbent, President Emmanuel Macron, reaping 23.3% percent of the vote, according to Ifop, a pollster.

Meanwhile, France’s far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon came in third with 20% of the vote, while center-right candidate Valerie Pécresse, the first woman to head the party of Charles de Gaulle, flailed.

The world is now anxiously waiting to see what happens in two weeks’ time, when the French return to the polls for the second and final round of voting to decide whether Macron or Le Pen should be sent to the Élysée.

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Macron Likely to Win French Presidential Election | Ukraine Aid | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

France's presidential election tightening as first round begins

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Delphi, Greece:

What's happening with the sanctions and help to Ukraine?

Well, it's moving forward quite heavily, both with now deliveries of more substantial weapons systems, and the key thing, of course, is going to be what happens with the imports of gas if that is stopped. Coal, oil, that's less important, but gas, that's the key thing. And I think we are moving in that direction.

What about the French presidential elections?

Well, we got the first round coming up on Sunday. I think Macron is going to win, but it looks like it's going to be tight. And the drama is going to be more substantial prior to the second decisive round on 25th of April. It's still likely to be Macron, but less money on that than was the case a month ago.

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Zelensky addresses the UN Security Council in a video message

Anthony Behar/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: Zelensky at the UN, French race tightens, Sri Lankan crisis worsens

Zelensky wants justice over Russian war crimes

In his first address to the UN Security Council, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday said Russians accused of war crimes in Ukraine must be brought to justice, noting that the atrocities in Bucha and elsewhere are the worst Europe has seen since World War II. Prior to Zelensky’s speech, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance is working with the UN-backed International Criminal Court to investigate the alleged war crimes. The International Court of Justice has already ordered Russia to cease and desist but has no authority to enforce its ruling. But some argue that pursuing indictments during ongoing conflicts can frustrate efforts toward peace agreements, thereby raising the risk of further atrocities. Meanwhile, the mounting allegations are putting more pressure on Western powers to slap harsher sanctions on Moscow — perhaps even targeting Russian oil and coal by the EU.

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Macron shakes hands with Putin, at the French president's summer retreat.

REUTERS/Gerard Julien

Putin invades the year’s big elections

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is shifting politics inside every major country in the world. Here are four countries holding big elections this year — with details on how Vladimir Putin’s war is making a difference in Hungary, France, Brazil, and the United States.

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Russian airborne troops soldiers at Chkalovsky Airfield waiting to depart to join the Collective Security Treaty Organisation's peacekeeping force in Kazakhstan.

Russian Defence Ministry/TASS

What We’re Watching: Russians in another Stan, Djokovic drama, Mali sanctions, Europe vs anti-vaxxers

Russia in Kazakhstan. Anti-government clashes in Kazakhstan have gotten increasingly violent, with the death toll now reaching 164 after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev issued a controversial “shoot without warning” order on Friday. What started as a demonstration against a fuel price hike has since turned into a movement protesting government corruption and authoritarianism — with regional implications. Enter Russia, which responded to the pro-Russia Tokayev’s request for help with about 2,500 “peacekeeping” troops and future deployments being planned under the aegis of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the former Soviet Union’s version of NATO. This comes as Moscow has recently amassed 100,000 troops on the border with Ukraine. The Russians will on Monday start talks with NATO and the US about the ongoing situation with Ukraine, but also discuss enhancing security plans with Kazakhstan, whose northern territory is claimed by Moscow. Russia has been clear about what it wants in Ukraine — for NATO to stop expanding further eastward into the former Soviet states. But what does Vladimir Putin want exactly in Kazakhstan, one of the region’s most energy-rich countries?

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What Unrest in Kazakhstan Means for Russia | French Elections | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Kazakhstan unrest could affect Putin's view on Ukraine

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What's happening in Kazakhstan?

Well, evidently rebellion, revolt, protest, massive threat of survival of the regime. And that's why Russia now are sending in troops. How will this affect Europe? See how it affects his attention towards Ukraine. He has to be worried when he's sitting in the Kremlin about the stability of the entire post-Soviet space. I think we're heading for dramatic weeks.

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What We're Watching: Turmoil in Kazakhstan, Macron targets anti-vaxxers, Haiti presidential murder probe

Kazakh political turmoil.Dozens” of anti-government protesters have been killed by security forces in Kazakhstan, which has declared a state of emergency over the worst political crisis in a decade. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev sacked the entire government in response to widespread street protests, which started days ago over a planned fuel price hike. Since then, the demonstrations have morphed into wider outrage against an entrenched regime, in power since the Central Asian republic broke away from the USSR in 1991. Things are escalating rapidly in Almaty, the business capital, where demonstrators have reportedly set the presidential palace on fire. Tokayev — who took over in 2019 as the handpicked successor of former strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev — now says he may assume wider powers to end the crisis and asked Russia to send in “peacekeepers” under the umbrella of the CSTO, a Moscow-led grouping of former Soviet Republics. Vladimir Putin, always wary of popular uprisings in the Kremlin’s sphere of influence, is one of the two world leaders closely watching developments in Kazakhstan along with Xi Jinping, given that China is thirsty for Kazakh oil, gas, and minerals.

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