French Election: Macron Defeats Le Pen To Become President

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has decisively won the French presidential election, projected results say.

Election results show that Macron defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen by about 65% to 35% to become, at 39, the country’s youngest president.

He will also become the first president from outside the two traditional main parties since the modern republic’s foundation in 1958.

A bitterly fought election concluded on Sunday amid massive security.

Macron’s supporters have gathered to celebrate in central Paris.

Analysts say this is the most remarkable success story of how a man who three years ago was utterly unknown to the French public, through sheer self-belief, energy – and connections – forged a political movement that has trounced all the established French political parties.

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Macron is a liberal centrist, pro-business and a strong supporter of the European Union.

He left the Socialist government of President François Hollande last August to form his new movement – En Marche – saying it was neither left nor right wing.

His campaign pledges included a 120,000 reduction in public-sector jobs, a cut in public spending by $65 billion and a lowering of the unemployment rate to below 7%.

He vowed to ease labour laws and give new protections to the self-employed.

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Macron also stood on a pro-EU platform, in stark contrast to his opponent.

Often with Emmanuel Macron one fears that it is words that are doing his work. Words that are bridging the divides; words that are flattering his opponents; words that create the devotion that, among some, he inspires.

Legislative elections follow on quickly from the presidential poll – on 11 and 18 June.

Macron’s party, En Marche will contest the elections as a party but the newly elected President may find himself needing to pull together a coalition to govern effectively.

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Although his presidential candidacy had support from other political parties, much of it stemmed from the need to defeat Le Pen.

He will need to win over the abstainers and those who are sceptical about his political vision. Left-wing voters in particular felt disenfranchised by the choice of the final two candidates.

Macron will also need to tackle the fallout from a hacking attack on Friday, the final day of campaigning, when a trove of documents relating to his campaign, said to include both genuine and fake documents, was released online.