Emmanuel Macron has been elected President of France. He defeated Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist who threatened to take France out of the European Union with an emphatic margin of 63%.
Macron victory, which also smashed the dominance of France’s mainstream parties, will bring huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain’s vote to quit the EU and Donald Trump’s election as US president, said Reuters.
Macron is the 39-year-old former investment banker, who had served for two years as economy minister but has never previously held elected office, will now become France’s youngest president.
Three projections, issued within minutes of polling stations closing at 8 pm, showed Macron beating Le Pen by around 65% to 35 – a gap wider than the 20 or so percentage points that pre-election surveys had pointed to.
Le Pen’s high-spending, anti-globalisation ‘France-first’ policies may have unnerved financial markets but they appealed to many poorer members of society against a background of high unemployment, social tensions and security concerns, reported Reuters.
The 48-year-old’s Le Pen’s share of the vote was set to be almost twice that won by her father Jean-Marie, the last National Front candidate to qualify for a presidential runoff, who was trounced by Jacques Chirac in 2002.
Macron’s immediate challenge will be to secure a majority in next month’s parliamentary election for En Marche! (Onwards!), his political movement that is barely a year old, in order to implement his programme.