Emmanuel Macron has been elected as France’s next President with 65.9% of the vote according to broadcaster BFMTV.
This marks the first time during the country’s Fifth Republic that an independent party has won the presidential elections. Since the beginning, this election race has been exceptional as none of the traditional parties qualified for the second round, leaving the newly formed centrist En Marche party of former cabinet minister Emmanuel Macron facing the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen of the Front National .
Macron’s win has been widely regarded as a victory for liberalism in France and the EU itself, with Macron himself being described as the candidate of the European Union. Indeed, Le Pen and Macron’s political views in terms of the European Union were at the opposite extremes, with Le Pen repeatly stating she would hold an in-out referendum on France’s membership of the bloc.
Yet turnout appears low, according to early estimates less than 75% of French voters have actually cast their votes, which is less than in the last election in 2012, and may lead to some legitimacy issue for Macron in the following weeks. Many supporters of the first round candidates Francois Fillon and Jean-Luc Mélenchon were reportedly considering whether to abstain in the second round of voting.
Macron will also only have a short period of time to celebrate his victory, as the campaign for the legislative elections begins right after the announcement of the presidential results. Macron will also need to obtain a majority in the senate if he wants to see all his reforms go through the system.
Now Macron will have to form his government and name his prime minister. This became a sensitive issue in the last few days as Le Pen was pressing him to give a name, as she rallied with the eliminated candidates Nicolas Dupont-Aignant. The new President has formerly declared he wants to name a female Prime Minister, even though he later claimed that experience was key in making his decision. He is reportedly considering two individuals.
Now, only the future will reveal if Macron will succeed in the challenge he started six month ago.