At the age of 39, Centrist Emmanuel Macron will become France's youngest leader since Napoleon.
Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has decisively won the French presidential election, defeating far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Macron will become France’s youngest leader since Napoleon.
The 39-year-old has been elected next French president with an estimated 65.8 per cent of the vote, while his rival, far-right Marine Le Pen, took 34.2 per cent.
Macron addressed thousands of supporters outside the Louvre in Paris where he also attempted to reach out to those who had voted for Le Pen.
After taking a long walk towards the stage to Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy,’ the anthem of the European Union, Macron spoke of the need for unity.
“I know the country is divided and this has led to people voting for extremes,” Macron said.
“I understand the anger, the anxiety, the doubt which many of you have expressed and it is my responsibility to hear that.
“A new page of our history has turned this evening, I want that page to be one of hope and refound trust, the renewal of our public life, will be at the base of what I do from the very first day of our Presidency.”
He repeatedly said the task before him was ‘immense’ adding that Europe and the world were looking to France. He added that he would work to ‘reform our Europe’.
Macron said that France had ‘chosen audacity’ and promised to serve his country with ‘humility and strength’.
He added: “This evening it is Europe and it is the world that is watching us. Europe and the world are waiting for us to defend the spirit of the enlightenment everywhere, threatened in so many places.
“They expect us to defend liberties everywhere, that we protect the oppressed. They are waiting for us to have a new hope, a new humanism, a more secure world, a world of freedom, a world of more growth, more justice, more ecology. They await us finally.
“The task before us is immense and will begin tomorrow. It will require making public life more responsible, defending our democratic values, strengthening our economy, building the new protections of this world around us, giving a place to everyone, rebuilding our Europe and ensuring the safety of all the French.”
He ended his speech with the immortal French words: “Long live the Republic, long live France.”
Earlier, Le Pen told supporters she had called to congratulate Macron after exit estimates projected a heavy defeat for the far-right candidate.
“The French have chosen a new president,” Le Pen told supporters.
“I have called Macron to congratulate him on his election and I wished him success in this very senior post he is going to occupy and also the great challenges in front of him.
“We have seen a major decomposition of French political life, of the old political mainstream parties and what we see now is a real new configuration which is emerging between the patriots and the new liberals,” she added.
French president Francois Hollande said that he had called Macron to “warmly” congratulate him on his victory.