French President-elect Emmanuel Macron celebrates on the stage at his victory rally near the Louvre in Paris, France May 7, 2017. REUTERS
Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has decisively wona the French presidential election, defeating far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Mr Macron won by 66.06% to 33.94% to become, at 39, the country’s youngest president.
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’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. Everyone told us it was impossible, but they don’t know France.”
In her speech, Ms Le Pen thanked the estimated 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.
One of his most dangerous opponents, conservative former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, was vilified after allegations that his family benefited from cushy taxpayer-funded jobs for years. Fillon is facing charges in the case.
Francois Fillon, member of the Republicans political party and 2017 French presidential election candidate of the French centre-right, reacts as he delivers a speech at his campaign headquarters in Paris reuters
On the left, the Socialist Party imploded, its candidate abandoned by voters who wanted to punish Hollande, France’s most unpopular president since World War II. Hollande himself decided not to run again.
He is a liberal centrist, pro-business and a strong supporter of the European Union.
His campaign pledges included a 120,000 reduction in public-sector jobs, a cut in public spending by €60bn, 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.
Macron’s victory strengthens France’s place as a central pillar of the European Union, and marked the third time in six months – following elections in Austria and the Netherlands – that European voters shot down far-right populists who wanted to restore borders across Europe. The election of a French president who champions European unity could also strengthen the EU’s hand in its complex divorce proceedings with Britain.
On free trade, multilateralism, global governance and climate change France and China stand in a moment of convergence which offers a unique opportunity to take the relations between the two countries at another level.
French President elect Emmanuel Macron reacts after he delivered a speech during his victory rally near the Louvre museum after results in the 2017 presidential election in Paris reuters
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker wrote on Twitter that he was “happy that the French chose a European future,” while president of the European Council Donald Tusk congratulated the “French people for choosing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity over tyranny of fake news.”
US President Donald Trump also congratulated Macron, writing on Twitter: “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!”
In a statement White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: “We congratulate President-elect Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election. We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tweeted her congratulations, saying Mr Macron’s win was a “victory for a strong united Europe”.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said: “France is one of our closest allies and we look forward to working with the new president.”
At home, President François Hollande congratulated Mr Macron and said the result showed the French people wanted to unite around the “values of the republic”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday sent a congratulatory message to French President-elect Emmanuel Macron.
In his message, Xi said France was the first major Western country to have established diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China.
China-France relations, which have significant strategic importance and international influence, have been developing steadily, healthily and consistently in recent years, he said.
Both as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and big countries with significant international influence, China and France bear special important responsibilities to world peace and development, Xi said.
Maintaining the steady and healthy development of the China-France relationship benefits not only the two countries and peoples, but also world peace, stability and development, he noted.
China is willing to work with the French side to push the close and sustaining China-France comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level, the Chinese president said in the message.