Emmanuel Macron wins French presidential election


Emmanuel Macron defeats Marine Le Pen in the election.

Aine Pierre, Eastside Staff

Emmanuel Macron, 39, a centrist independent and former finance minister, defeated his opponent, right-wing independent Marine Le Pen, 48, in one of the most divisive elections in French history.

Macron and Le Pen’s advancement from April’s first round rattled French politics, as the two independent parties beat out the two traditional ruling parties in France, garnering a collective 45.3 percent of the vote. In the second round, Macron won approximately 66 percent of the vote to Le Pen’s approximate 34 percent.

Macron’s victory is hailed as a victory for the European Union, as the centrist’s opponent vowed to initiate ‘Frexit’ if she was, in fact, elected. While Macron has indicated that he may be open to a French exit from the EU, France’s European allies are celebrating.

[Macron’s] victory is a victory for a strong united Europe,” said Steffen Seibert, a spokesperson for Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany.  

Many observers of international economy are also breathing a sigh of relief. A French exit from the Eurozone, they feared, would have crashed global markets, which could have spelled disaster for a recovering American economy.

Emmanuel Macron’s victory gives markets a much deserved breather from European politics,” said Bill Street, head of investments for EMEA at State Street Global Advisors.

For many political observers, the French election acted as a test for the momentum carried by Nationalist, far-right movements. With the success of Brexit in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump here at home, Le Pen’s victory would have capped a year of meteoric rise in anti-globalist sentiment.

In an event celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the Allied Powers’ victory in Europe, sitting president Francois Hollande revealed that Macron will be inaugurated this Sunday.

President Donald Trump, despite showing favor to Marine Le Pen, was quick to congratulate Macron on his win.

Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!” tweeted the president.

Marine Le Pen, in her concession speech, fawned over the historic result of the election, the National Front’s 34 percent sets a record for their highest vote count yet, but could not completely waive the frustration.

“[The French] have voted in favor of continuity,” said Le Pen.

Macron, in victory, attempted to begin unifying a country that has been divided again and again by this election.

“This evening [I am] addressing you all, all of you together, the people of France. [I will] defend France, its vital interests, its image and its message: I make that commitment to you,” said Macron.

France’s electoral battles are not quite over, however. On June 11 and June 18, the French will once again take to the polls to decide the fate of the French parliament. Macron’s En Marche! (Forward!) party is expected to pick up 249 to 286 seats in the lower house, polls indicate. The same polls indicate an expected 10 to 15 seats for Le Pen’s National Front party, while right-leaning centrist and conservative parties expect to pick up 200 to 210 seats.