Emmanuel Macron pledged to heal France’s rifts after his victory over Marine Le Pen in the presidential election, saying that he’ll work to address the concerns that were exposed during one of the most divisive campaigns of recent history.
The president-elect made his comments in a speech to supporters at campaign headquarters in Paris less than an hour after Le Pen conceded the election. Macron received 66 percent of expressed votes, the French Interior Ministry said. The far-right Le Pen had 34 percent.
“I know that there is anger, worry and doubts that many of you have expressed,” said Macron, 39, pledging to “fight with all my energy against the deepening divisions” in French society. Addressing a rally outside the Louvre museum later, he added: “I will do everything in the next five years so that they have no more reason to vote for extremes.”
Macron’s commanding victory over the National Front candidate on a platform of free-market policies strengthens the European Union and deals a blow to the populist wave that has roiled western democracies for the past year. An independent centrist who has never before run for office, he is set to become the youngest-ever elected French head of state.
“Macron is a new face and that’s exactly what France and Europe need: a fresh start,” said Andre Sapir, a senior scholar at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels. “Macron gives Europe huge hope.”