France chooses Macron as new President

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France

PARIS, MAY 07, (DNA) – Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has decisively won the French presidential election, projected results say. Mr Macron defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen by about 65% to 35% to become, at 39, the country’s youngest president, the results show. If confirmed, 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. Mr Macron’s supporters have gathered to celebrate in central Paris.

His campaign pledges included a 120,000 reduction in public-sector jobs, a cut in public spending by €60bn (£50bn; $65bn), and a lowering of the unemployment rate to below 7%.

He vowed to ease labour laws and give new protections to the self-employed. Mr Macron also stood on a pro-EU platform, in stark contrast to his opponent.

Often with Emmanuel Macron one fears that (in a way that is very French) 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.

In the campaign it became a joke among journalists how often his answers included the words “au meme temps” (at the same time). It was his way of marrying everything and its opposite, of reconciling every contradiction.

He got away with it because he is who he is.

But in the real life of running a fractious, angry, divided country – will his words have the same effect? Will his solitary self-belief create the structures of political support which he needs in the rough-and-tumble of government? Will his charm still work?

Initial estimates showed Macron winning between 65.5% and 66.1% of ballots ahead of Le Pen on between 33.9% and 34.5%.

Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron won France’s landmark presidential election, first estimates showed on Sunday, heading off a fierce challenge from the far-right in a pivotal vote for the future of the divided country and Europe.

The victory caps an extraordinary rise for the 39-year-old former investment banker, who will become the country’s youngest-ever leader.

He has promised to heal a fractured and demoralised country after a vicious campaign that has exposed deep economic and social divisions, as well as tensions around identity and immigration.

Initial estimates showed Macron winning between 65.5% and 66.1% of ballots ahead of Le Pen on between 33.9% and 34.5%.

Unknown three years ago, Macron is now poised to become one of Europe’s most powerful leaders, bringing with him a hugely ambitious agenda of political and economic reform for France and the European Union.

The result will resonate worldwide and particularly in Brussels and Berlin where leaders will breathe a sigh of relief that Le Pen’s anti-EU, anti-globalisation programme has been defeated.

After Britain’s vote last year to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s victory in the US, the French election had been widely watched as a test of how high a tide of right-wing nationalism would rise.

Le Pen, 48, had portrayed the ballot as a contest between Macron and the “globalists” – in favour of open trade, immigration and shared sovereignty – and her “patriotic” vision of strong borders and national identities.

Outgoing President Francois Hollande, who plucked Macron from obscurity to name him minister in 2014, said voting “is always an important, significant act, heavy with consequences” as he cast his vote.

Macron will now face huge challenges as he attempts to enact his domestic agenda of cutting state spending, easing labour laws, boosting education in deprived areas and extending new protections to the self-employed.

The philosophy and literature lover is inexperienced, has no political party and must try to fashion a working parliamentary majority after legislative elections next month.

His En Marche movement – “neither of the left, nor right” – has vowed to field candidates in all 577 constituencies, with half of them women and half of them newcomers to politics

“We will reconstruct right to the end! We’ll keep our promise of renewal!” he said during his last campaign meeting in the southern city of Albi on Thursday.

Many analysts are sceptical about his ability to win a majority with En Marche candidates alone, meaning he would have to form a coalition of lawmakers committed to his agenda — something new under France’s current constitution.=DNA

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