Emmanuel Macron has been elected president of France on Sunday night with a large margin over Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist who threatened to take France out of the European Union.
Macron was elected France’s youngest head of state since Napoleon after trouncing far-Right rival Le Pen in a result that will have far-reaching consequences for Britain and Europe.
Initial results gave 39-year-old Mr Macron almost two thirds of the vote, showing a clear path to the Elysee Palace for the pro-business, centrist Europhile who was a political unknown until three years ago and has never held elected office.
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The victory also smashed the dominance of France’s mainstream parties, and is expected to 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 U.S. president.
Five projections, issued within minutes of polling stations closing at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), showed Macron beating Le Pen by around 65 percent to 35 – a gap wider than the 20 or so percentage points that pre-election surveys had pointed to.
Even so, it was a record performance for the National Front, a party whose anti-immigrant policies until recently made it a pariah in French politics, and underlined the scale of the divisions that Macron must now try to heal.
Le Pen’s high-spending, anti-globalization ‘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.
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 program.