En Marche leader Emmanuel Macron made his first public appearance as the French President-Elect today following a decisive victory over his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen. Macron appeared alongside the outgoing Socialist president Francois Hollande at a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the end of WWII in Europe. Macron, a former investment banker who had never been elected to political office, was appointed by Hollande to serve as his economy minister before quitting to form his own party and run for president.
Macron defeated the far-right, anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen, winning 66.1% of the votes to make him France’s youngest ever president at age 39. Messages of support have been pouring in from European and world leaders, many of whom expressed relief that Macron’s victory has stemmed the rise of anti-EU populism.
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) May 7, 2017
“Happy that the French chose a European Future. Together for a more just and fair Europe,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wrote on Twitter.
European Council President Donald Tusk also took to twitter saying, “Congratulations to…the French who chose freedom, equality and fraternity over the tyranny of “fake news”.
Congratulations @EmmanuelMacron. Congratulations to French people for choosing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity over tyranny of fake news.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) May 7, 2017
The Macron campaign had been subject to false rumours spread online and was targeted last Friday by hackers who released thousands of stolen campaign emails with the aim of affecting the outcome of the vote. An investigation is underway to uncover the source of the leak with suspicions turning to Russian involvement due to the Kremlin’s perceived preference for a Marine Le Pen victory. The National Front leader paid a visit to Moscow during the campaign and accepted millions of euro in funding from the Kremlin.
On a statement on his official website, Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his support to Macron saying, “It is…important to overcome mutual mistrust and work together to ensure international stability and security.”
US President Donald Trump, whose positions on immigration and economic protectionism, are closer to those of Le Pen than Macron also offered his congratulations on twitter.
Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2017
Attention will now turn to parliamentary elections due to be held in June as Macron’s En Marche political movement scrambles to muster candidates to field in each of France’s 577 constituencies.