Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Ex-French PM seeks to join Macron revolution

Jean Launay, a former lawmaker who was involved in the candidate selection process, said a dozen or so others who weren't selected also won't face an opponent from Macron's party.

"I look forward to working w/ @EmmanuelMacron to strengthen relations & advance shared values". The opposition party's leader, Marine Le Pen, will gather momentum over the coming years and could come back much stronger in five years' time.

More congratulations rolled in from world leaders.

Macron reached out to Le Pen's supporters in a plea for unity after a vicious election campaign that exposed deep economic and social divisions, as well as tensions provoked by identity and immigration.

Macron spoke with Merkel after his victory was announced, telling her that he would travel to Berlin "very quickly".

"I will be a candidate in the presidential majority and I wish to join up to [Macron's] movement", Valls, who led the centrist branch of the Socialist party, told RTL radio.

But in the financial markets, there is a realization that he needs a majority in the legislative elections next month, or at least needs to form a viable coalition, to avoid becoming a lame duck president.

It will be important for Britain to get alongside him early on and start discussing with him the key issues in the Brexit negotiations.

British Prime Minister Theresa May discussed Brexit with Macron in a call to congratulate him late Sunday, saying "the United Kingdom wants a strong partnership with a secure and prosperous European Union once we leave", her Downing Street office said.

The election itself also saw a remarkable shift in French politics, with the traditional centre-right and centre-left parties falling at the first round for the first time since the founding of the Fifth Republic by Charles de Gaulle in 1958. Just a few weeks ago he had said French nationalist Marine Le Pen was the strongest candidate, who was tough on "radical Islamic terrorism".

Split 50-50 between men and women, they'll have Macron's example for inspiration: Contesting his first election, he handily beat Le Pen with 66 percent of Sunday's vote and tore up France's political map.

President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation joined a chorus of world leaders, including President Donald Trump, who have congratulated Macron.

He expressed Iran's "readiness to constantly exchange views [with the French officials] on bilateral, regional and global issues" and hoped that obstacles in the way of enhanced cooperation would be removed during Macron's tenure.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said "the victory of President-elect Macron is a symbolic victory against inward-looking and protectionist moves and shows a vote of confidence in the European Union".

Addressing crowds following the result he said: "Tonight you won, France won".

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Macron, saying the two countries share a "responsibility toward peace and development in the world". Not only because Mr Macron campaigned on an overtly pro-European platform - even walking out to the EU's anthem after his win last night - but also because he promises to reform the French economy.

No timetable was given for a possible meeting with Macron, who will take the oath of office on Sunday.

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