Emmanuel Macron defeated his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen with a greater margin than expected in the presidential elections in France on Sunday. He won by 58.55 to 41.45 percent.
Macron, who became the first French leader to win re-election in 20 years, vowed to unite a divided France in a speech after the announcement of the official results.
Addressing a victory rally at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, where his supporters waved French and European flags, Macron vowed to respond “efficiently” to the “anger and disagreement” of voters who chose the far right.
Macron vows to re-unite France
“I know that a number of French people have voted for me today, not to support my ideas but to stop the ideas of the far-right,” he said and called on supporters to be “kind and respectful” to others because the country was riven by “so much doubt, so much division.”
He added: “I’m not the candidate of one camp anymore, but the president of all of us.”
French President Emmanuel Macron comfortably defeated his far-right rival Marine Le Pen, heading off a political earthquake for Europe, but acknowledging dissatisfaction with his first term and saying he would seek to make amends https://t.co/NEBJkow6t7 pic.twitter.com/7rvVESu0Cr
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 25, 2022
More than one in three voters did not vote for either candidate. Turnout was just under 72%, the lowest in a presidential run-off since 1969, and more than three million people cast spoilt or blank votes.
Le Pen delivered a concession speech within a half-hour of the first projection, speaking to her backers gathered at a pavilion in western Paris’ Bois de Boulogne.
“A great wind of freedom could have blown over our country, but the ballot box decided otherwise,” Le Pen said.
Still, Le Pen acknowledged the fact that the far-right had never performed so well in a presidential election. She called the result “historic” and a “shining victory” that put her political party, National Rally, “in an excellent position” for June’s parliamentary elections.
“The game is not quite over,” she said.
World leaders congratulate Macron on re-election
Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis was among the first European leaders to congratulate Macron on his re-election.
Une victoire importante pour la France, l’Europe, la démocratie! ✌️
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) April 24, 2022
“An important victory for France, Europe, and democracy!” he wrote on Twitter in French.
European Council President Charles Michel, as well as the prime ministers of Belgium and Luxembourg, were also among the first to congratulate Macron, followed by almost all of the bloc’s 27 leaders, after his win over Marine Le Pen by a comfortable margin.
“Bravo Emmanuel,” Michel wrote on Twitter. “In this turbulent period, we need a solid Europe and a France totally committed to a more sovereign and more strategic European Union.”
US President Joe Biden joined in the congratulations later Sunday, calling France a “key partner in addressing global challenges.”
“I look forward to our continued close cooperation—including on supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and countering climate change,” Biden tweeted.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky also congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his re-election, calling the French president a “true friend.”
“I wish Emmanuel Macron new successes for the benefit of the French people,” Zelensky tweeted in French early Monday. “I appreciate the support of France and I am convinced: we are stepping together to new common victories! To a strong and united Europe!”