Former investment banker and biconceptual independent Emmanuel Macron has been elected President of France in a blowout victory over right wing extremist Marine Le Pen, according to projections from French mass media.
Macron is trouncing Le Pen by a more than two-to-one margin. He had the backing of much of the French political establishment and (it turns out) a large swath of the electorate, with voters from across the ideological spectrum gravitating to his candidacy. A victory for extremist Le Pen would have meant big trouble for the European Union, NATO, and civil liberties in France.
In a speech broadcast shortly after 8 PM Paris time (11 AM Pacific), Le Pen conceded defeat and said she had called Macron to wish him well. She claimed she was happy with the result and vowed that she would not “fade” from French politics. This is only the second time that Le Pen’s extreme National Front has made it into the second round of the French presidential election.
The thirty-nine year old Macron, meanwhile, has become the youngest person in history to be elected President of France.
Spokespeople for British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have already extended their congratulations, welcoming the result.
Macron’s decisive win is good news for a Western world that has been rocked by the turmoil of Brexit and Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory. French voters, at least, have firmly repudiated right wing extremism with this vote.
Macron will take office on May 14th, succeeding incumbent President Francois Hollande, who chose not to seek a second term.
The challenge now for progressives in France is to find unity and purpose in the upcoming elections for the National Assembly.