Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old centrist independent and former Rothschild & Cie Banque investment banker, has been elected as the President of the French Republic in a landslide victory against extreme-right Marine Le Pen and the Front National.
In the Alpes-Maritimes, a traditionally right-leaning department where two-thirds of communes voted in favour of Le Pen and her party in the first round of elections in late April, 55.38% of votes went to Macron while 44.62% backed the far right candidate.
60.14% of voters in Nice voted for Macron as did: 59.38% in Antibes; 57.80% in Cannes; and 56.95% in Grasse. Communes showing the strongest support for Macron included Socialist municipality Valbonne-Sophia Antipolis, where he secured 70.82% of votes, and the large yet little-populated commune of Saorge in the east of the department, where he picked up 80.47% of the votes. But it wasn't a clean sweep as several coastal communities and dozens of communes in the hinterland voted for his rival Le Pen, including Saint-Laurent-du-Var (52.65% for Le Pen) and Menton (51.22%).
For the neighbouring Var, a bastion of support for the FN for many years now, the gap was even closer between France’s youngest ever president and 48-year-old Le Pen: 50.85% voted to elect the former Socialist over 49.15% who placed their faith in the leader of the FN.
Macron achieved a win in most of the departments large municipalities (55.96% in Toulon, 55.69% in Bandol, 54.34% in Saint-Raphaël, 55.15% in Saint Tropez, and 51.36% in Grimaud), but the FN also held on to some major districts (50.71% voted for Le Pen in Fréjus, 51.13% in Sainte-Maxime, 51.92% in Cogolin, 50.85% in Bormes-les-Mimosas, and 50.49% in Draguignan).
Regional president speaks out
President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region Christian Estrosi has congratulated Macron on his win, describing the results as a ‘clear and indisputable victory of all democratic forces’ despite his personal right-wing leanings.
Estrosi continued, “On the evening of the first round, I called on all the citizens of our country, who share the values of the Republic, to support him [Macron] to block the extreme right. So I want to thank the voters in my political family, who have contributed very much to this victory by making the choice that was necessary. It was a difficult and sometimes painful choice for some, but it is a choice that honours them and is one that they can be proud of.”
The region’s most prominent politician didn’t hold back when it back to commenting on his fellow Républicains who failed to follow his lead in endorsing Macron in the weeks since the first round of the elections, such as his deputy Eric Ciotti. “Certain leaders of my political family have adopted an ambiguous position towards the two [Macron and Le Pen],” he said. “Worse, some have shown their connections with the National Front. These have been permanently dishonoured.”
France as a whole
Nationwide, the former economy minister to exiting President François Hollande picked up 65.8% of the vote (equating to 20,429,650 individual votes). 34.2% of eligible votes went to Le Pen (10,608,109), making it an exceptionally strong win for the far-right as acknowledged by the front woman herself in the aftermath of the election results. Le Pen said it was a ‘historic and massive’ score that made her leader of ‘the biggest opposition force’ in France.
Across France, just two departments voted for Le Pen: Pas-de-Calais where she got 52.05% of the vote and Aisne where she achieved 52.91%. In Paris, 89.68% of voters chose to support Macron.
Overall, and as polls widely predicted, abstentions were high after the population was asked to choose between a relatively unknown independent would launched his own political party just last year (En Marche!) and notorious Le Pen. 12 million people, almost one third of the electorate, abstained from voting while 4.2 million ‘spoiled’ ballot papers. Turnout was at its lowest in more than four decades.
Politicians and world leaders congratulate Macron
France’s exiting president, Socialist François Hollande, who himself made history by being the first French president in the Fifth Republic not to campaign for a second term at the helm of France, has congratulated his ex-minister: “His large victory confirms that a very great majority of our citizens wanted to unite around the values of the Republic and show their attachment to the European Union and show France is open to the world.”
In a statement from 10 Downing Street, British prime minister Theresa May “warmly congratulates president-elect 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.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on your victory in #Presidentielle2017. I look forward to working with you.”
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon also tweeted her congratulations, writing: “Vive La France. Congratulations to new President, Emmanuel Macron on his decisive victory over the hard right. #frenchelection.”
Via Twitter, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “Huge congratulations to @EmmanuelMacron on an amazing victory. We look forward to continuing the great partnership between our two nations.”
In contrast, the former leader of a deflated Ukip, the UK’s so-called equivalent of the FN, Nigel Farage immediately lambasted Macron’s success online, tweeting: “Macron offers five more years of failure, more power to the EU and a continuation of open borders. If Marine sticks in there, she can win in 2022.”
In the run-up to the vote, US president Donald Trump appeared to support Le Pen in the race, describing her as the ‘strongest on borders, and she's the strongest on what's been going on in France’. After the results were revealed in the evening of 7th May, Republican Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!”
Canada’s Justin Trudeau released a lengthy statement in both French and English: “I would like to congratulate Emmanuel Macron on his election as the next President of France. Canada and France share a warm and historic relationship, rooted in our common history, deep cultural ties, people-to-people connections, and strong economic partnership… I look forward to working closely with President-elect Macron in the years ahead as we work together on a progressive agenda.”
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was among the first to respond to the results, tweeting: “Happy that the French have chosen a European future. Together for a stronger and fairer Europe.” He also sent an open letter to the new president-election, in which he welcomed ‘the ideas that you [Macron] have advocated, a strong Europe, and progressive, that protects all its citizens’.
European Council president Donald Tusk also tweeted: “Congratulations @EmmanuelMacron. Congratulations to French people for choosing liberty, equality and fraternity over tyranny of fake news.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel has described the results as a “victory for a strong and united Europe”.