Spotlight: Projections show Macron elected French president

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-08 05:42:53|Editor: MJ


File photo taken on April 23, 2017 shows Emmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate for the On the Move (En Marche) movement, greeting his supporters at a rally after the first round of French presidential election in Paris, France. Macron, with 65.9 percent of vote, beats Le Pen in French runoff Presidential vote on Sunday, according to polling agency projections. (Xinhua/Jose Rodriguez)

PARIS, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron won Sunday's runoff vote of the French presidential election, defeating his far-right rival Marine Le Pen, according to polling agency projections issued after the vote.

An estimation by research firm Elabe for BFMTV show that Macron won the presidential race with 65.9 percent of votes, while Le Pen scored 34.1 percent.

Other estimations also indicate that Macron garnered between 65 to 66.1 percent of votes, and Le Pen between 33.9 to 35 percent.

The results will make the 39-year-old former minster of economy the eighth president of the French Fifth Republic, and the youngest one ever.

In his first speech delivered after the win, Macron expressed "profound gratitude" to his voters, pledging to "calm the fears" and "bring all the French together."

"It's a great honor and a great responsibility," he said, promising to protect "the most fragile" and fight against "all sorts of inequality and discrimination."

"I am going to serve on your behalf with humility, with devotion, with determination," said Macron.

He said he knew the divisions of the country, adding that he had the responsibility to hear all the French.

On Europe, Macron said he would work to rebuild links between Europe and the people that form it.

Moreover, he said France is at the forefront of fight against terrorism, both on its own soil and internationally.

The president-elect then joined a cheering crowd of supporters gathered in front of the Louvre Museum in central Paris for a large party with live performances.

"Tonight you have won, France has won," he told his supporters in a passionate speech. "What we have done has no precedent, nor equivalent."

He also vowed to form a strong majority in the parliamentary elections in June.

Addressing the supporters of his far-right rival, he said he will do everything he can in the next five year to ensure that "they have no reason to vote the extreme parties."

Le Pen delivered a speech to her supporters shortly after the release of the projections, conceding her defeat in the election and saying that "France has chosen continuity."

She congratulated Macron for winning the election, and wished him success in facing "immense coming challenges."

Regarding the legislative election, Le Pen pledged to "constitute a new political force," and called on "all patriots" to join her.

Despite her defeat, the results also made record for Le Pen's far-right National Front (FN) party.

Her father and co-founder of FN Jean-Marie Le Pen made it to the second round in 2002, but lost to Jacques Chirac by a big margin of 17.8 to 82.2 percent.

The party must "profoundly renew itself in order to live up to this historic opportunity and the expectations expressed by the French," she stressed.

Outgoing French president Francois Hollande called Macron to congratulate his win, saying it marked French citizens' commitment to the European Union, and France's opening to the world.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday congratulated on Macron's election victory, saying he was happy that "the French have chosen European future."

European Council President Donald Tusk also congratulated Macron, saying the French have chosen "liberty, equality, and fraternity."

German Chancellor's spokesman Steffen Seibert hailed Macron's win as a "victory for a strong and united Europe".

"Your victory is a victory for a strong and united Europe and for French-German friendship," tweeted Seibert.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also praised the successful election, tweeting that France "was, is and remains in the middle and at the heart of Europe."

British Prime Minister Theresa May also congratulated on Macron's election victory, with an official spokesman saying, "France is one of our closest allies, and we look forward to working with the new president on a wide range of shared priorities."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailed via social media Macron's "decisive victory over the hard right."

U.S. President Donald J. Trump in a tweet extended congratulations to Macron on his big win as the next French president, saying "I look very much forward to working with him!"

There were nearly 47 million eligible voters for the runoff vote, but the turnout rate was lower than the 2012 election, according to pollsters' estimates.

Various estimations show that the abstention rate will exceed 25 percent, the highest since 1969.

Over 66,000 polling stations were opened on the French European mainland for the vote at 08:00 local time (0600 GMT) and remained open for a maximum of 12 hours.

The polling stations located outside big cities closed at 19:00 (1700 GMT), and those in big cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg remained open until 20:00 (1800 GMT).

The French overseas territories started voting on Saturday.

Election result projections or partial results could only be released after all polling stations were closed, as required by the French law.

After the complete official results of the runoff vote are confirmed, the winner of the election will be sworn by May 14 the latest, taking over from Francois Hollande.

A two-round parliamentary election will be held on June 11 and 18. Analysts say Macron would struggle to form a parliamentary majority and will likely have to form a pact with members of the Socialist party, the Republicans or both.

From a middle-class family in Amiens, northeast France, Macron obtained a master's degree of philosophy at Paris Nanterre University and a master's degree in public affairs at Paris Institute of Political Studies (Science Po), before training for a civil service career at National School of Administration (ENA).

After graduation, he worked as a finance inspector in the ministry of economy between 2004 and 2008.

From 2008 to 2012, he worked as an investment banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque.

Macron was an advisor to Francois Hollande during his election campaign and later became Hollande's economy minister in 2014.

In April 2016, he launched a new political movement, "En Marche!" (On the Move!), in his hometown of Amiens. Four months later, he resigned from the government and in November 2016 officially declared bid for presidency.

Macron's wife is 64-year-old Brigitte Trogneux, who, once his high school teacher, is 25 years his senior. They have been married since 2007.

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