Thursday 20 July 2017

Here's everything you need to know after France elected its youngest ever president

The victory is unprecedented.

By Catherine Wyatt

At just 39 years old, Emmanuel Macron has been elected as France’s youngest ever president.

As he stood in front of the Louvre after his historic victory, he said: “France has won. Everyone said it was impossible. But they do not know France.”

Here’s everything you need to know about his success, and what lies ahead.
Macron doesn’t come from a major political party.

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Macron’s presidency is unprecedented – belonging to neither of France’s two traditional parties, the Republicans or Socialists, Macron set up his own movement En Marche! just one year ago.

He claims to be neither from the left nor right, but from the centre.

He has never been elected to public office before.

Macron was an investment banker for Rothschild & Cie before being made France’s economy minister in 2014.

He stepped down from the Socialist government in 2016 to set up En Marche!

The move was widely derided as a hopeless cause. He was an unknown, and came from a finance background – he had no chance in France.

But then he won 2/3 of the vote.

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Polls closed at 8pm local time – just seconds later Macron’s image was beamed onto French televisions with the projected vote share of 65% to Macron, 35% to contender Marine Le Pen.

As of this morning, 99% of votes have been counted, with the French Interior Ministry having Macron on 66% and Le Pen on 34% – an ode to French polling if nothing else.

He was the most pro-Europe candidate.

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Le Pen stood on an anti-EU platform, calling for a Frexit referendum and a return to the franc.

Macron was the only candidate to take that head on, and campaign directly on more EU integration, making a positive case for Europe.

After his victory, Macron’s supporters gathered at the Louvre, where he strode onto the stage to the European anthem Ode To Joy.

He also has a raft of economic reforms planned.

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Many left-wing supporters felt they could not support Macron because of his pro-business attitudes and policies.

Macron wants to be flexible about the sacred French 35-hour working week, he wants to cut corporation tax and he wants to cut the public sector and its spending.

But he needs to perform well in legislative elections to enact his policies.

Elections for the French National Assembly will take place in June.

As En Marche! is a new movement, Macron has zero representatives – he is hoping to do an about turn and get a legislative majority next month to ensure he can enact his policies.

Press Association

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