French election: Emmanuel Macron elected new president

JOEL SAGET  AFP  Getty

JOEL SAGET AFP Getty

Emmanuel Macron's ascent to the French presidency caps a stunning rise for the political newcomer but he now faces another battle to form a parliamentary majority, with his rivals already plotting revenge in June's general election.

Although Macron's defeat of far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Sunday has bought Europe time, many economists believe the euro zone remains vulnerable to shocks.

Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron resoundingly won France's landmark presidential election, first estimates showed Sunday, heading off a fierce challenge from the far-right in a pivotal vote for the future of the divided country and Europe. "However, Le Pen's still strong showing shows how Macron has just five years to turn France around".

President-elect Macron had floated the idea of introducing a dose of proportional representation that favors smaller parties or those locked out.

Some urged him to lay out a clear quid pro quo on Europe, explaining reforms he would do as French president, what Germany could deliver in response, and areas where the two countries should pursue common initiatives, sources in his team said. That means many of them may be burdened by the handicap of being largely unknown to voters in constituencies they compete for.

Mr Macron now becomes not only France's youngest president, but also one of its most unlikely. Their story began when a 15-year-old Macron took part in a school play she directed. Le Pen has different positioning to her father, winning on Sunday about double his share of the vote in 2002, appealing not just to the far right but also some centre-right voters - and a slice of the left, that she presents herself as an anti-globalisation champion, including opposition to global trade.

More than 230 people have been killed in jihadist attacks in France since January 2015, many carried out in the name of the Islamic State (IS) group.

Hecker pointed to the dangers posed by hundreds of French IS fighters returning home from Syria and Iraq in the coming years.

As of this morning, 99% of votes have been counted, with the French Interior Ministry having Macron on 66% and Le Pen on 34% - an ode to French polling if nothing else.

Projections gave Macron, leader of the fledgling centrist En Marche! party nearly 66 percent of the vote, with slightly more than 34 percent for Le Pen, who conceded defeat. Her desire to free France from the European Union and the shared euro currency contrasted with his argument that both are essential for the future of Europe's third-largest economy.

Few could have asked for a better start to a political career than France's new President Emmanuel Macron. Both the Socialists and the right-wing party will try to recover their lost ground in the upcoming legislative elections.

The dollar index, which tracks the US currency against a basket of six rivals, added 0.2 percent to 98.963, after dipping as low as 98.543 earlier, its lowest since November.

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