Paris: Emmanuel Macron, at 39, will be modern, France’s youngest president. He secured himself,66.1 percent of the vote to Le Pen’s 33.9 — a stronger-than-expected victory.“What we have done, after so many months, is unprecedented and has no equivalent. It was impossible — but they didn’t know France!” Macron declared.
Next month’s parliamentary election’s outcome will determine whether Macron can translate his rout into enough seats in the National Assembly and a governing mandate to run Europe’s third-largest economy.
Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union last June and Donald Trump’s rise to the American presidency in November, had turned the West’s political establishments to a series of potentially disruptive elections in Europe.
Macron, although portrayed as an outsider, emerged from the establishment and served in the government of outgoing Socialist President François Hollande and put forth a French version of Bill Clinton’s old triangulation, a reformed left in the guise of centrism.
Macron winning the election is a sign of relief for the European leaders in Berlin and Brussels as they see Macron as an enthusiastic supporter of the EU.
President Trump also tweeted his congratulations to Macron. “I look very much forward to working with him!” he said. Before the first round of voting, Trump had praised Le Pen but stopped short of endorsing her.
Macron’s victory was larger than predicted.The size of the victory margin belies the disenchantment of many French voters with the choice on offer.
Macron played the optimist on a pro-EU platform committed to free trade and economic reform.
In the final stretch after the first round, Macron stumbled a couple times early on but recovered strongly in Wednesday night’s one face-to-face debate against Le Pen.
Macron takes charge of an economy that, while stronger than in recent years, continues to struggle with higher unemployment than the EU average, particularly among young people.
And in his victory speech at the Louvre, Macron said: “It won’t be easy every day, I know it,” he added. “The task will be tough. I will tell you the truth.”