Barely two hours after voting ended in the French Presidential elections, the incumbent Emmanuel Macron, Sunday night, defeated far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen to retain his position as France President.
In the final count, the centrist Emmanuel Macron defeated Le Pen to win the French presidency by winning 58% of the vote to Le Pen’s 42% in the run-off poll, conducted Sunday.
Macron had previously defeated Le pen during the 2017 polls.
Macron, 44, makes history by becoming the first French president to be re-elected in 20 years.
Speaking to supporters in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Macron thanked French voters for trusting him after “five years of hard times,” even as he acknowledged many people voted for him only to block the far right and vowed to govern for all.
Macron’s challenger, Le Pen, 53, was running for the presidency for a third time and has already conceded defeat.
Addressing her supporters earlier, she said her party’s unprecedented vote share was still a victory.
French presidents are heads of state, not of government. It is not unusual for them to send a message of unity after an election. But given the extraordinary level of polarisation in France, Macron felt he needed to be particularly forceful in his pledge to be “the president of everyone”.
He’s fully aware that many voters backed him, as he put it himself, “not to support my ideas but to block the far right”.
He now rules over a profoundly divided country in which 55% of first-round voters chose radical candidates who do not share his pro-European vision. And in today’s second round, at least 40% have voted for a far-right figure.
The country’s divisions will be once again laid bare during the campaign for legislative elections in June that will determine who governs.
Both the nationalist right and the hard left will be seeking to capitalise on widespread anti-establishment anger.
Macron knows that the road ahead will be long and hard for a centrist who is admired and hated in equal measure.
Already, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has joined the chorus of European politicians congratulating the victor.
In the days leading up to the election, Scholz joined other moderate leaders of European nations in publicly calling on the French people to reject the far-right Marine Le Pen and re-elect Emmanuel Macron.
The German leader says voters had signalled their support to Europe and that he looks forward to continuing to work with the French president.