Emmanuel Macron Becomes France’s New President

Centrist independent candidate Emmanuel Macron becomes France’s new president according to exit polls.

Centrist independent candidate Emmanuel Macron beat on Sunday with comfortable margin the far-right rival Marine Le Pen to become France’s new president, according to exit polls.

The polls placed Macron first with 62.46 percent ahead of Le Pen who got 37.54 percent of the votes in the run-off round. The initial percentages can change slightly as the rest of the votes are counted.

The far-right leader has conceded defeat and said her National Front party has become the country’s leading opposition party, pledging a “profound reform” of her party to create “a new political force”.

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Macron, a former economy minister, who has never before run for elected office, is ardently pro-EU and has praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel for taking in over a million refugees.

Macron, a former investment banker, was top adviser on economic issues of outgoing president Francois Hollande from 2012 to 2014, then economy minister in his Socialist government for two years.

He later founded his own political movement ‘En Marche!’ (On the move) in April last year.

Leaders respond to Macron’s victory

The U.S. President Donald Trump was one of the first world leaders to congratulate “Macron on his big win.”

“I look very much forward to working with him!” Trump posted on social media.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also congratulated Macron on his election success. “France is one of our closest allies and we look forward to working with the new president on a wide range of shared priorities,” she said in a statement.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni also took social media to hail Macron: “Long live #Macron President! There is hope for Europe.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert also congratulated Macron.

“Your victory is a victory for a strong united Europe and for German-French friendship,” Seibert posted on social media.

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