French Election: Macron defeats Le Pen to become President

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 65.5% to 34.5% to become, at 39, the country’s youngest president, the results show.

Mr Macron will also become the first president from outside the two traditional main parties since the modern republic’s foundation in 1958.

He said that a new page was being turned in French history.

“I want it to be a page of hope and renewed trust,” he said.

Mr Macron said he had heard “the rage, anxiety and doubt that a lot of you have expressed” and vowed to spend his five years in office “fighting the forces of division that undermine France”.

He said he would “guarantee the unity of the nation and… defend and protect Europe.”

Mr Macron’s supporters gathered in their thousands to celebrate outside the Louvre museum in central Paris and their new president later joined them.

In his speech to the crowd, he said: “Tonight you won, France won.” But he repeated a number of times that the task facing him and the country was enormous.

He said: “We have the strength, the energy and the will – and we will not give in to fear or division.”

His mention of Ms Le Pen drew loud boos, and he said he would do all he could to ensure in future there would be no reason to vote for extremism.

Security remains tight in the capital and there were reports of police firing tear gas at several hundred anti-capitalist protesters near the Ménilmontant metro in the 20th arrondissement.

What has Ms Le Pen said?

In her speech, she thanked the 11 million people who had voted for her. She said the election had shown a division between “patriots and globalists” and called for the emergence of a new political force.

Ms Le Pen said her National Front party needed to renew itself and that she would start the “deep transformation of our movement”, vowing to lead it into upcoming parliamentary elections.

She also said she had wished Mr Macron success in tackling the “huge challenges” facing him.

Subdued and blue: BBC’s James Reynolds at Le Pen HQ

There were scattered boos as the projections were announced. A few moments of quiet, uncertain chatter followed. Then supporters gave a subdued rendition of the French national anthem. Many were carrying blue-coloured roses – Marine Le Pen’s chosen symbol.

The defeat will not have come as a surprise – the fact that such a small venue was booked is an indication that the campaign suspected it would lose.

There were cheers for Marine Le Pen as she delivered her speech. During an interview afterwards, one senior party official explained to me that a new movement would now be formed – he didn’t give a name for it. Once I finished the interview, he raised his glass of champagne and said “Vive la France”.

 

 

Source: BBC

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