Tue, May 09, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Macron defeats Le Pen in French presidential election

AP, PARIS

People yesterday in Paris celebrate French president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s victory at the polls.

Photo: EPA

French president-elect Emmanuel Macron handily defeated far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s French presidential runoff and now must pull together a majority of lawmakers for his year-old political movement to run the legislative election in the middle of next month.

Macron yesterday laid the groundwork for his transition to power, announcing a visit to Germany and a name change for his political movement, and appearing with his predecessor at a solemn World War II commemoration.

His party is changing its name to La Republique En Marche (Republic on the Move) as it prepares a list of candidates. Macron has promised that half of those candidates would be new to elected politics, as he was before his victory on Sunday.

Macron won the presidency with 66 percent of votes cast for a candidate. However, a high number of blank or spoiled votes and unusually low turnout are signs of an electorate dissatisfied with its choices.

Le Pen said she will lead the opposition to Macron.

Yesterday, the president-elect joined French President Francois Hollande to commemorate the end of World War II. The French national holiday marks the day of the formal German defeat in World War II.

It was the first time the men had appeared in public together since Macron resigned in August last year as the French minister for the economy and finance to run for president — a decision that was received coldly by the French leader at the time, according to French media.

However, Hollande gripped Macron’s arm before the two men walked side by side and then announced the transfer of power would take place on Sunday, one week after the election.

French deputy to the European Parliament Sylvie Goulard said Macron would make Berlin his first official visit, with perhaps a stop to see French troops stationed abroad as well.

The National Front is also gearing up for a name change — if not a makeover of its ideas — after Le Pen’s decisive loss.

“The National Front is a tool that will evolve to be more efficient, bring even more people together after the number of voters we reached last night, and so we have an immense responsibility vis-a-vis the French people, who trust us,” National Front Secretary-General Nicolas Bay said

German Minster of State for Europe Michael Roth applauded Macron’s win, but said the result was marred by the fact that 11 million people in France voted for Le Pen.

“It mustn’t become normal that right-wing extremists and populists achieve such strong results,” Roth said.

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