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Rediff.com  » News » 'New page of our history has turned': Macron marches to French presidency

'New page of our history has turned': Macron marches to French presidency

May 08, 2017 08:24 IST

At the age of 39, Centrist Emmanuel Macron will become France's youngest leader since Napoleon.

IMAGE: French President-elect Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux celebrate on the stage at his victory rally near the Louvre in Paris. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

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.

IMAGE: Macron addressed thousands of supporters outside the Louvre in Paris after his victory at the polls. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

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.

IMAGE: President Elect Emmanuel Macron is seen on a giant screen near the Louvre museum after results were announced in the second round vote of the 2017 French presidential elections. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

“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.”

IMAGE: Supporters of French President Elect Emmanuel Macron celebrate near the Louvre museum. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

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’.

IMAGE: Flags of France flew high after Macron's victory. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

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.”

IMAGE: Marine Le Pen, French National Front political party candidate for French 2017 presidential election, concedes defeat at the Chalet du Lac in the Bois de Vincennes in Paris. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

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.

IMAGE: A supporter of Marine Le Pen, French National Front political party candidate for French 2017 presidential election, wipes her eyes in the Chalet du Lac in the Bois de Vincennes in Paris. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

“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.

World leaders react to Macron's victory

United States President Donald Trump congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his victory in the French presidential elections and said he looks forward to working with him.

“Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!” Trump said in a tweet to his 28.8 million followers.

The White House later issued a statement congratulating Macron.

“We congratulate President-elect Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

“We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government,” Spicer said in a statement.

US lawmakers joined the White House in congratulating Macron.

British Prime Minister Theresa May shortly after Macron’s victory discussed Brexit. “This evening the Prime Minister spoke to President-elect Macron to warmly congratulate him on his election victory," a spokesman said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Emmanuel Macron on winning France’s presidential election.

“I look forward to working closely with President-elect Macron in the years ahead as we work together on a progressive agenda to promote international security, increase collaboration in science and technology, and create good, middle class jobs on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said in a statement. 

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