Independent candidate Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidential election, sweepingly defeating far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, and securing 66.6% of the votes. His victory, predicted by the polls, was immediately hailed as a crushing defeat for the march of the sensationalist far-right, and concluded an election campaign that has systematically split and shattered France. Speaking in the courtyard of Louvre last night, Macron celebrated by striking a soothing, emollient tone. “I will do everything to make sure you never have reason again to vote for extremes,” he said.
Throughout the lengthy campaign, Le Pen, France’s architect of extremism, strove to paint the 39-year-old ex-banker Macron as the embodiment of the establishment. But, although he certainly represents the elite, he does not represent the entrenched. Declaring he leans neither right nor left, the president-elect burst into the public’s consciousness only when he founded his En Marche! movement roughly a year ago. The first president of the Fifth Republic to rise from outside the ranks of a party, he is France’s youngest leader since Napoleon Bonaparte.
Socially liberal, globalist and pro-Europe, Macron’s ideological stance is well-known. His governing style is not. The territory upon which he is about to tread is volatile and unstable, and will be rocked with resistance from Le Pen and her supporters who, steadily gaining ground for 45 years, are used to playing a long, tactical game. Already, Le Pen, who garnered 11 million votes, has declared the National Front will be overhauled; she is a master of reinvention and crafty detoxification.
The international impact of a Macron presidency is unquantifiable: it is an unknown entity, subject to the stride he hits as leader, and the methods employed by his weighty opposition. But, nations have their obvious allegiances. The administration of Donald Trump, presumably rooting for Le Pen, released a curt, congratulatory note. Russia, widely implicated in the pre-vote hack attack, have called for the end of the mutual distrust that prevails between the two countries. Leaders across Europe will be largely delighted with the results, especially Angela Merkel, who is preparing to battle the far-right in Germany’s upcoming election. For Theresa May, who congratulated Macron on the phone last night, the result is more mosaic. Macron, a vocal supporter of the E.U., supports a “strict approach to Brexit,” and arrived at his victory party last night to the strains of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the European anthem. Already, Jean Psani-Ferry, tipped to play a top role in Macron’s government, has told the BBC that, although their administration favors mutual cooperation, “there will be a tough negotiation and [Macron] will be tough.” A Macron government might be more punitive for Brexit Britain, but a Le Pen win would have signaled the demise of the entire E.U. project, and sparked a profound, tentacular economic and cultural catastrophe. Macron’s presidency will bolster May’s quest for strong and stable leadership, and make negotiating talks tougher. But, if he had lost yesterday, there would have been nothing left for Britain to leave at all.
Source/More: Vanity Fair