Centrist Emmanuel Macron wins French presidential election

Macron promised to combat climate change and fight terrorism in his victory speech.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron wins French presidential election
Centrist Emmanuel Macron wins French presidential election
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The youngest French leader since the Emperor Napoleon walked through the courtyards of the Louvre in central Paris alone, to the sound of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," the European anthem on Sunday night on his way to speak to thousands of his supporters.

"A new chapter in our long history has opened this evening. I would like it to be one of hope and renewed confidence," said independent French President-elect Emmanuel Macron after declaring victory in France's presidential election on Sunday. "I will use all the energy I have to earn (the people's) trust."

Macron said that Europe and the world was "watching us" and "waiting for us to defend the spirit of the Enlightenment, threatened in so many places."

France, the president-elect admitted, was facing an "immense task," in reinforcing European unity, fixing the economy and ensuring the country's security in the face of terror threats.

Addressing the concerns of his rival's voters, Macron promised to address the "anger, anxiety and doubts" in France, as worries about economic insecurity and increasing immigration were prominent themes of far-right National Front (FN) candidate Marine Le Pen's campaign.

"Today they (Le Pen voters) expressed a sense of rage, of helplessness; sometimes, convictions... I will do all I can in my five years to ensure that there will no longer be any reason to vote for the extremes," the country's youngest president-elect said. "I will fight the divisions that undermine France."  

He also promised to combat climate change and fight terrorism in his victory speech. 

Telephone call with Merkel

Macron spoke with Chancellor Merkel on Sunday night and said he would travel to Berlin "very quickly." Merkel's spokesman said she had telephoned Macron to congratulate him on his victory, and "praised his stance for a united and open European Union during the campaign" and that "the decision of the French voters is a clear statement of support for Europe."

Merkel "looked forward to working together with the new president on the basis of trust in the spirit of the traditional German-French friendship," her spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Le Pen concedes defeat

The former banker and economy minister achieved a clear victory over the Front National candidate, with 66 per cent of valid votes cast for Macron to 34 per cent for Le Pen, according to the interior ministry. With all but 0.01 votes counted early Monday, the ministry reported a record 11.5 per cent of votes cast were either blank or spoiled. A near-record total of 25.38 per cent of voters abstained.

The 39-year-old founder and leader of the independent En Marche! (On the move!) movement, has proven that the French preferred a relative newcomer to the anti-immigrant Le Pen, who has spent years moving her party away from the extreme right fringes in an effort to make it more palatable to French voters.

(This article was first published on DW. You can read the original article here.)

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