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19 May 2017, 09:43 | Max Haynes
Macron elected French president estimates
PARIS (AP) - Ripping up France's political map, French voters elected independent centrist Emmanuel Macron as the country's youngest president Sunday, delivering a resounding victory to the unabashedly pro-European former investment banker and dashing the populist dream of far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
The France Insoumise (France Unbowed) of firebrand leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon was trailing in fourth with 13-15 percent, ahead of the tattered Socialists of outgoing President Francois Hollande on eight-nine percent.
Hollande smiled and clasped the arms of his one-time economy minister as the two men attended a ceremony at Paris's Arc de Triomphe to commemorate victory over the Nazis in World War II.
Macron has delivered a rather serious first victory statement.
The last days of the campaign were marked by an insult-laden debate in which Ms. Le Pen proved shaky on facts, cementing Mr. Macron's advantage. Le Pen, 48, had called for a temporary ban on immigration, a referendum to leave the European Union and replacing the Euro with the Franc, the old French currency.
In a statement, Putin wished Macron "good health, well-being and success" as president, adding that "overcoming mutual distrust and joining efforts to ensure worldwide stability and security is especially important".
Sylvie Goulard, a French deputy to the European Parliament, said Mr Macron would make Berlin his first official visit, with perhaps a stop to see French troops stationed overseas as well.
Macron's optimistically named "En Marche!". He finished first in the first round of the election with a quarter of the vote.
Mr Macron's victory is being seen as a reprieve for Europe and the liberal democratic values for which it has stood for more than half a century, with the nightmare scenarios of a far-right victory that were mooted across Europe in early 2017 not realised. "But they didn't know France".
But he is nevertheless optimistic: "Macron struck the other candidates such a blow that it is not impossible".
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Le Pen immediately turned her focus to France's upcoming legislative election in June, where Macron will need a working majority to govern effectively.
In Poland, the right-wing and anti-EU Law and Justice party took power in 2015, while in Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban has openly sparred with Brussels. The appointment of the Prime Minister will be key.
He disagrees with the idea Mr Macron won by default, and says he can now go on to win a majority in the legislative assembly. But that is far from guaranteed.
If Macron can convince the large apathetic segment of the population that he offers more than just not being Le Pen, there would be little standing in his way to taking up residence in the Elysee Palace. Macron can't count on their loyalty.
But the vote also showed that France's 67 million people are deeply divided, riven by anxieties about terrorism and chronic unemployment, anxious about the cultural and economic impact of immigration and fearful of France's ability to compete against giants like China and Google. There were brief clashes with police and several arrests. "Macron: Not even started, already hated", it read. Overnight Sunday, police arrested 141 people in eastern Paris in clashes with masked protesters.
Macron's movement announced Monday that it was rebranding itself with a new name, "Republic on the Move". It will release its list of 577 candidates on Thursday.
NAN reports that Mr. Macron won with between 65 and 66 per cent of the vote, projections published by multiple French media showed.
In interviews Monday, her campaign director, David Rachline, said the party founded by her father would get a new name as bait to pull in a broader spectrum of supporters in France.
World leaders from Donald Trump of the U.S.to Angela Merkel of Germany congratulated him on his victory.
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As the new French leader received military honours outside Merkel's chancellory, crowds outside the gate chanted his name. Macron said "treaty change long used to be a French taboo", but that this would change now that he was president.
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