Macron wins French presidency, to sighs of relief in Europe

Sunday, 2017-05-07 18:54:09
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French President-elect Emmanuel Macron celebrates on the stage at his victory rally near the Louvre in Paris.
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Emmanuel Macron was elected French president on Sunday with a business-friendly vision of European integration, defeating Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist who threatened to take France out of the European Union.

The centrist's emphatic victory, which also smashed the dominance of France’s mainstream parties, will bring huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain's vote to quit the EU and Donald Trump's election as US president.

With virtually all votes counted, Macron had topped 66% against just under 34% for Le Pen - a gap wider than the 20 or so percentage points that pre-election surveys had suggested.

Even so, it was a record performance for the National Front, a party whose anti-immigrant policies once made it a pariah, and underlined the scale of the divisions that Macron must now try to heal.

Macron’s immediate challenge will be to secure a majority in next month's parliamentary election for a political movement that is barely a year old, rebranded as La Republique En Marche ("Onward the Republic"), in order to implement his programme.