Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected as France’s president for another five years following a resounding victory over competitor Marine Le Pen, who received the extreme right’s largest vote percentage yet.
He won by a larger margin than projected, 58.55 percent to 41.45 percent.
At the foot of the Eiffel Tower, the centrist leader assured exuberant supporters that now that the election was over, he would be a “president for all.”
He is the first sitting president to be re-elected in 20 years.
Despite her defeat, Ms Le Pen, 53, claimed that her large vote share was nevertheless a win.
She assured her fans that the ideas espoused by her National Rally had reached new heights. “It’s the eighth time the Le Pen name has been touched by failure,” said far-right challenger Eric Zemmour, pointing out that she had eventually failed, much like her father before her: “It’s the eighth time the Le Pen name has been crushed by defeat.”
In 2011, Marine Le Pen took over the party founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in an attempt achieve electability. On Sunday, she received more than 13 million votes on a platform that included tax cuts to combat rising living costs, a ban on wearing the Muslim headscarf in public, and a referendum on immigration curbs.
In his victory speech, Mr Macron added, “An answer must be found to the rage and differences that drove many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right.” “It will be my responsibility, as well as the responsibility of others around me.”
More over a third of voters did not cast a ballot for either candidate. More over three million voters submitted spoiled or blank votes, resulting in the lowest turnout in a presidential run-off since 1969.
Although much of France was on vacation on election day, the poor turnout indicated voter apathy, as many grumbled that neither candidate represented them. The Bazzup said that those who indicated they were casting blank ballots wanted to punish the current president.
Anti-Macron protesters gathered in a number of towns, including Paris, Rennes, Toulouse, and Nantes, to reject the outcome.
‘An ocean of absences’
Mr. Macron, 44, said in his speech that his administration would have to “answer their choice to refuse to choose.”
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left leader who was narrowly defeated by Ms Le Pen in the first round of voting two weeks ago, was critical of both candidates.
While it was excellent news that France had rejected Marine Le Pen, he stated that Mr Macron had had a poorer election result than any prior president. “He’s adrift in a sea of no votes, blank ballots, and spoiled ballots.”
Reactions in the United States and Europe
European leaders were relieved by Mr Macron’s victory, as they had expected a far-right candidate who would propose a series of anti-EU policies.
The first to applaud him was German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who highlighted their shared challenge in responding to Russia’s war on Ukraine. President Joe Biden of the United States also expressed his desire for “close cooperation,” including support for Ukraine.
While Mr. Macron has played an important diplomatic role in the fight, Marine Le Pen has been dogged by claims of ties to the Kremlin. Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine thanked him as a “genuine friend” and expressed his hope for a strong and unified Europe.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, congratulated him on his triumph.
For his victory address, Mr Macron chose the Champs de Mars, a hugely historic location from the French Revolution.
He walked to the platform, flanked by his wife Brigitte and leading a group of children, to the tune of the EU song Ode to Joy, pledging supporters that “no one will be left by the wayside.” He said he would be thankful to voters who had backed him to keep the far right out of power for years to come.
The cost-of-living crisis that millions of French people are experiencing became the election’s top issue, with the president’s opponents accusing him of arrogance and acting as a president of the wealthy.
Prime Minister Jean Castex, on the other hand, told French radio that the president’s re-election sent a strong message at a time when France was undergoing a significant crisis marked by “many differences and a lack of understanding.”
The next job for France’s political leaders is to reorganize and campaign for parliamentary elections in June. Mr Macron may have a majority for the time being, but defeated first-round candidates are already planning a new campaign, and according to one poll, 63 percent of voters want him to lose his majority.
If that happens, he will be compelled to “coexist” with a government run by other political groups.
Mr. Mélenchon has previously stated that he believes he can beat the president’s centrist party and become Prime Minister.
Ms Le Pen told supporters in a rally on Sunday night that the “battle is not totally over” and that the risks of Mr Macron retaining complete authority were significant.