Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump congratulates Macron on 'big win' in French election

Trump congratulates Macron on 'big win' in French election

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron laid the groundwork Monday for his transition to power, announcing a visit to Germany and a name change for his political movement and appearing with his predecessor at a solemn World War II commemoration.

Moreover, despite Macron's determinedly can-do attitude, the enthusiasm for the former investment banker has its limits.

At 39, the trim, blue-eyed and square-jawed Macron will become France's youngest leader since Napoleon when he is inaugurated on Sunday. "The euro's rising momentum was derived from France's presidential election, but that's receding now".

Nearly half of young French voters voted for Marine Le Pen in the presidential run-off, early indications suggest.

"He has been reporting on the French election from the start and has had direct access to Macron and many on his team, making him perfectly positioned to get to the bottom of who Macron is, and what he might plausibly achieve as president of France".

The prospect of a Le Pen victory had prompted serious concerns about a global right-wing, nationalist resurgence that brought Trump to power and saw Britain vote to leave the European Union a year ago.

"Now we have a person who really wants progress, so it's absolutely exceptional", he said.

Former president Barack Obama had also endorsed Macron, and the young French politician often appeared to be trying to emulate the magic of Obama's 2008 campaign with speeches that appealed to hope, change and unity - while eliding numerous details of his policies.

Overall, forecasts suggest Mr Macron secured around 65 per cent of votes to Ms Le Pen's 35 per cent.

Macron's party, previously known as a movement called simply En Marche, is preparing a list of candidates for next month's parliamentary election. Until recently he was deputy editor-in-chief at Agence France Presse. Macron is the first president of modern France elected as an independent.

Several candidates knocked out in the first round of votes publicly endorsed Macron, as did French president Francois Hollande.

IT worker Saskia Jenesen said the sight at the Louvre of "all the young people who were really motivated by politics" had given her hope - but that Sunday's poll had seemed like a choice between "the lesser of two evils".

Macron is a keen advocate of the European Union and the euro currency, while Le Pen has proposed taking France out of both.

The interior ministry on Sunday reported a record number of blank and invalid ballots, accounting for nine per cent of all registered voters, compared with two percent in the first round. "I look very much forward to working with him!"

Company stock price information are displayed on screens as they hang above the Paris stock exchange, operated by Euronext NV, in La Defense business district in Paris, France, December 14, 2016.

With 34 percent, Marine Le Pen nearly doubled her father's score.

And while Le Pen's defeat was something of a thrashing, it was not as pronounced as the defeat of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who ran for the National Front in 2002 and gained less than 18% of the vote.

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