Emmanuel Macron has beaten Marine Le Pen to become the president of France in a historic poll which saw centrist Macron face off against far-right candidate Front National Leader Le Pen, projected results show. Macron is expected to take 65.5% of the vote compared to exit polls conducted by Ipsos, Ifop and BVA which suggested Macron would take between 60% and 63% of the vote. The result sees an end to five years of Socialist rule under François Hollande.
Macron supporters erupted in joy at the Louvre when the poll was revealed. Le Pen called Mr Macron to concede defeat and then spoke to her supporters about the challenges ahead. Macron said in his victory speech that he wanted to unite the country, defeat discrimination and also guarantee the security of the country.
The result comes after a day of voting. On Saturday Mr Macron’s campaign was subject to a massive hacking attack which saw hundreds of thousands of private emails and official documents dumped online.
What does this mean for France, Europe and the rest of the world?
Macron stood for a pro european policy, he advocates further integration on issues such as a Eurozone parliament and an EU border agency. These would strengthen the Eurozone and increase the viability of the EU. This has been in contrast with Marine Le Pen’s policy to hold a referendum on leaving the Eurozone and also a wish to leave the Schengen Area, the group of countries with without border security on their mutual borders. Although Mr Macron appears to have won the election by a clear majority there is still lower support for the European Union with Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Socialist Party Presidential Candidate both standing on Eurosceptic platforms.
Emmanuel Macron is expected to continue similar policies to François Hollande. Macron, 39, is a former investment banker and wishes to trim the public sector and also raise the retirement age to 62.
Macron’s victory is expected to strengthen France’s campaign to convince companies in London and the UK to move their headquarters to Paris following Brexit.
Mr Macron was elected with the support of his newly created party En Marche. Currently the party has no seats in parliament but will be standing in the parliamentary elections on 11 and 18 June. It is expected that Macron will have to manage a coalition in parliament, unusual in French politics. Front National will look to build on the 11 million votes gained in this election and look to boost their number of MPs from 2 as they aim to create a strong opposition.
Marine Le Pen gained 34% of the vote but fell short of 40% which was the campaign’s target. In her speech following her defeat, Le Pen promised to transform the party. Later, a campaign official confirmed that the party would change its name and transform its tactics however maintain its values and ideas.
Mr Hollande leaves the presidency with an approval rating of only 14% which saw him choose not to stand again for office. Macron held the office of Economy Minister since August 2014 and pushed through pro-business policies.