French President Emmanuel Macron beats Marine Le Pen to win second term


President Emmanuel Macron has won France’s presidential run-off, beating far-right rival Marine Le Pen, according to the exit polls. Mr Macron would be the first French president in 20 years to win a second term, which lasts five years, since Jacques Chirac in 2002.

His defeat comes following a race that was overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and saw a surge in French support for extremist ideas. Macron must still battle to keep his parliamentary majority in legislative elections in June.

Five years ago, Mr Macron won a sweeping victory to become France’s youngest president at 39. Polling agencies Opinionway, Harris and Ifop projected that Macron would win between 57 per cent and 58.5 per cent percent of the vote. Ahead of the vote, polls had suggested Macron would win with 56 percent.

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Ms Le Pen later conceded defeat in the presidential run-off, handing victory to incumbent Mr Macron, adding that her unprecedented score in a presidential election represents “a shining victory in itself”. Polling agencies predicted that centrist President Emmanuel Macron would win the run-off by around 17 percentage points.

A second five-year term for Mr Macron, if confirmed by official results later on Sunday, would spare France and its allies in Europe and beyond the seismic upheaval of a shift of power in wartime. Mr Macron’s rival, far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, quickly conceded on Sunday night.

Several hundred Macon supporters gathered in front of the Eiffel Tower

Her campaign had pledged to dilute French ties with the 27-nation EU, the Nato military alliance and Germany would, had she won, have shaken Europe’s security architecture as the continent deals with its worst conflict since the Second World War. Ms Le Pen also spoke out against sanctions on Russian energy supplies and faced scrutiny during the election campaign over her previous friendliness with the Kremlin.

Several hundred Macon supporters gathered in front of the Eiffel Tower, singing the national anthem and waving French and European flags as television stations broadcast the initial projections of his win. The UK’s prime minister was among those who congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his projected victory. Boris Johnson wrote that he was looking forward to working with the re-elected leader of “one of our closest and most important allies”.

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