Centrist and political newcomer Emmanuel Macron has been elected the President of France, handily defeating National Front candidate Marine Le Pen. Most recently available results put Macron at 65.8%, surpassing La Pen’s 34.2%.
Macron has never held political office, although he did serve as Finance Minister under former Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
The election was a clear referendum of the dueling natures of globalism versus nationalism. Le Pen was opposed to the group, however she declined to say she would immediately withdraw France from the Union. Macron, however, is in support of the European Union, albeit with reforms. Further driving home the point, Macron walked into his second victory rally to the tune of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the anthem of the European Union.
Macron, 39, will be France’s youngest president in modern history. His political party, En Marche!, was formed just over a year ago in April, 2016. Shortly after the results were announced, Macron delivered an address to the nation where he spoke of his plans for the nation. He then had a more celebratory rally later on in the evening with thousands of supporters. “What we have done, after so many months, is unprecedented and has no equivalent. Everyone said it was impossible — but they didn’t know France!” he said.
“Today, they expressed their anger, frustration, sometimes their beliefs,” he said, addressing the matter of Le Pen’s supporters. “I respect them but I will do everything over the next five years so they have no reason to vote for extremists.”
The next test for his political group and all the French political parties is the French parliamentary elections next month. While also conceding defeat, Le Pen pledged to reform the National Front party and reemerge as the leading opposition party to Macron.
“I call on all patriots to join us,” she said. “France will need you more than ever in the months to come.”