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Emmanuel Macron of France wins a second term and defeats far-right leader Marine Le Pen

Emmanuel Macron of France wins a second term and defeats far-right leader Marine Le Pen
Emmanuel Macron of France wins a second term and defeats far-right leader Marine Le Pen

On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron easily defeated his competitor Marine Le Pen in re-election, triggering a surge of satisfaction around Europe that the far-right had been kept out of power.

According to forecasts by polling firms for French television channels based on a sampling of the vote count, centrist Macron was set to win roughly 58 percent of the vote in the second-round run-off, compared to Le Pen’s 42 percent.

Macron is the first French president to win re-election in two decades, but Le Pen’s victory brings the far-right closer to power in France than it has ever been, revealing a deeply divided country. In his second term, the 44-year-old president will confront a slew of hurdles, beginning with parliamentary elections in June, where maintaining a majority would be key to achieving his reform goals. Official results were anticipated to confirm the conclusion overnight, with final data due on Monday.

About Emmanuel Macron’s victory speech:

Macron promised to respond to the fury of voters who backed his far-right competitor in a victory address on the Champ de Mars in central Paris, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, saying his new term will not be the same as the previous five years. “The resentment and differences that drove many of our countrymen to vote for the far right must be addressed. It will be my responsibility, as well as the responsibility of everyone around me “He informed tens of thousands of adoring patrons.

He also promised a “new method” for governing France, noting that this “new age” would not be a continuation of the previous term, which is now coming to a close. 

Le Pen, 53, said she would “never desert” the French and was already planning for the June legislative elections in a fiery speech to supporters in Paris in which she acknowledged the outcome but showed no sign of quitting politics. “This is a wonderful triumph,” she exclaimed to applause. “We commence the great war for the parliamentary elections this tonight,” Le Pen declared, adding that she has “hope” and urging opponents of the president to join her National Rally (RN) party.

How did Emmanuel Macron win over Le Pen?

The margin of victory is less than in the 2017 run-off, when the same two candidates faced off and Macron won with nearly 66 percent of the vote. After years of work to make herself electable and distance her party from the heritage of its founder, her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, Le Pen’s third defeat in presidential polls will be a tough pill to chew.

 

Critics claimed her party never stopped being extreme-right and racist, while Macron regularly mentioned her promise to ban the Muslim headscarf from being worn in public if she is elected. The estimates brought a sigh of relief to Europe, which had feared that a Le Pen presidency would leave the region adrift following Brexit and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s resignation from politics.

Macron’s victory was hailed as “excellent news for all of Europe” by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said French voters “sent a strong vote of confidence in Europe today.”

EU President Charles Michel said the group can now “depend on France for five more years,” while EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen congratulated him immediately, saying she was “delighted to be able to continue our good partnership.”

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