Emmanuel Macron Defeats Marine Le Pen to Become France's Youngest President

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French president-elect Emmanuel Macron waves to the crowd as he delivers a speech at the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, 2017, after the second round of the French presidential election.
French president-elect Emmanuel Macron waves to the crowd as he delivers a speech at the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, 2017, after the second round of the French presidential electioCredit: PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP
Updates

Putin urges France's Macron to overcome mutual mistrust

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent France's President-elect Emmanuel Macron a telegram to congratulate him on his election victory and told him Russia was ready for constructive work on bilateral and global issues, the Kremlin said on Monday.

"The citizens of France have trusted you with leading the country at a difficult time for Europe and the whole world community. The growth in threats of terrorism and militant extremism is accompanied by an escalation of local conflicts and the destabilization of whole regions," the telegram to Macron read, according to the Kremlin.

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From Trump to Clinton, bipartisan praise for Macron in U.S.

In the first hours after Emmanuel Macron's decisive election victory in France, leading U.S. politicians in Washington reacted to the results and tried to relate them to political discussion taking place in their own country. Macron was greeted by both Republicans and Democrats, but the contents of their greetings were far from identical.

One of the first to congratulate Macron was President Donald Trump, who tweeted on his personal account - "Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!" Shortly afterwards, the White House released a short official statement, attributed to Press Secretary Sean Spicer, which sent a similar message. 

Even Hillary Clinton commented, calling it a victory against invervention... (Amir Tibon) Read full story

Macrons triumph stops the march of malice | Analysis

The stirring first lines of La Marseillaise Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé! – Arise, children of the Fatherland, The day of glory has arrived! - rang out loud and clear throughout France, Europe and the world on Sunday night. Before one gets immersed in the dissection of Emmanuel Macrons tremendous victory and Marine Le Pens humiliating defeat in the French elections – and of the difficulties that lay ahead – raise a glass of Champagne exceptionnel or Burgundy merviellieux or Bordeaux fantastique as you toast French voters and their day of glory. They struck a mighty blow for Liberté, égalité, fraternité, for themselves and for the rest of us, and they did so just in the nick of time. Vive La France.

Macrons margin of victory may have been smaller than Jacques Chiracs 82%-18% second-round blowout in 2002 of Le Pens father, Jean Marie, but it was nonetheless bigger than ones best hopes and far more massive than ones worst fears. His was a resounding victory, clear-cut, unequivocal, not open to interpretation. Its true that over a third of French voters opted for a racist, xenophobic, proto-Fascist candidate, and thats a scary thought. But close to two-thirds preferred to trust a rational and moderate liberal middle-of-the-roader. That might have seemed ho-hum not long ago, but these days, its a cause for celebration. Read Chemi Shalev's full analysis

Official results: Marcon wins 64 percent with 40m votes counted

With more than 44 million of France's 47 million registered voters accounted for, official Interior Ministry figures on Sunday confirmed independent centrist Emmanuel Macron had been elected president with 65.31 percent of valid votes cast so far.

About 12.5 percent of votes cast were either blank or spoiled, the official figures showed, while 24.7 percent of the voters accounted for did not show up to vote. (Reuters)

Relieved at Le Pen loss, French Jews cheer Macron

Clients and personnel of Frances best known and archrival kosher falafel restaurants cheered together when they discovered Emmanuel Macron was elected president.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Yeeees! shouted people in the Mi-Va-Mi restaurant while watching the giant screen set up on top of the Ace of Falafels front entrance, across the narrow street. More than 65%! said personnel members, a mix of waitresses and cooks of Jewish and foreign descent, comforted by Macrons higher-than-expected result.

In Pariss historic Jewish quarter Rosiers St. most people seemed relieved although not thrilled. (Shirli Sitbon) Read full report

How Macron Won The French Election | Analysis

Stop talking terrorism and four other lessons Macron can teach politicians everywhere

He portrayed patriotism as holding fast and not showing weakness by changing laws or cultural norms

Emmanuel Macrons victory was achieved with exhaustive, old-school field work, but also by following five rules that politicians the world over could learn from.

1. Dont be afraid to condescend to the voters

2. Stop talking terrorism

For the rest of the list see Dov Alfon's full analysis

Le Pen may have lost, but the fight is far from over | Analysis

Le Pen lost French election, but battle against populism is far from over

If polls can be trusted, and these days thats quite an ask, European extremists are set for a few more defeats. In Britains June 8 election, the money is on the near-elimination of the far-right United Kingdom Independence Party and a major defeat for Labour under its far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn. And in September, the mother of Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seems set for reelection. The far-right Alternative for Germany is unlikely to break the 10-percent barrier.

None of this means European liberals can return to their pre-Brexit complacency, however. Read full analysis by Anshel Pfeffer

In solemn victory speech, Macron acknowledges divided nation

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he would work to heal the deep divisions in France that led to large scores for far-right and far-left parties and would seek to bring European institutions closer to the peoples of Europe. 

"I know the divisions in our nation, which led some to vote for extremist parties. I respect them," Macron said in a solemn address at his campaign headquarters after winning the presidency.

"I will work to recreate the link between Europe and its peoples, between Europe and citizens," he said. 

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at his campaign headquarters in Paris, May 7, 2017. Credit: POOL/REUTERS

Trump congratulates Macron on 'big win'

U.S President Donald Trump on Sunday congratulated Emmanuel Macron on winning the French presidency election and added he was looking forward to working with him.

"Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!" Trump said on his official Twitter feed. (Reuters)

Macron: 'A new page in our long history has turned'

President-elect Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday a new era in French history was beginning, as the 39-year old pro-EU centrist becomes the country's youngest head of state since Napoleon.

"A new page in our long history has turned tonight," Macron said in a statement to Reuters. "I want it to be that of rediscovery of hope and trust." 

Supporters of French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron react to his win outside the Louvre museum in Paris, May 7, 2017.Credit: Laurent Cipriani/AP

Le Pen vows relaunch of 'new political force'

France's far-right National Front must be relaunched, Marine Le Pen said on Sunday after conceding defeat to centrist Emmanuel Macron in France's presidential election.

"The National Front ... must deeply renew itself in order to rise to the historic opportunity and meet the French people's expectations," Le Pen said in a brief address to supporters shortly after initial projections were released.

"I will propose to start this deep transformation of our movement in order to make a new political force," she added. 

French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National party Marine Le Pen delivers a speech in Paris, May 7, 2017.Credit: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP

European leaders congratulate Macron

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his election on Sunday to the French presidency, saying his win was a victory for a united Europe.

"Congratulations Emmanuel Macron. Your victory is a victory for a strong united Europe and for the Franco-German friendship," Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in tweets in German and French.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also congratulated Macron on his success in the election, an emailed statement from May's office said.

"The Prime Minister 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," the statement said.

Supporters of Emmanuel Macron celebrate after the second round of 2017 French presidential election, in Lyon, France, May 7, 2017.Credit: ROBERT PRATTA/REUTERS

Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders has congratulated Marine Le Pen of the National Front despite her defeat in the French presidential elections.

"Well done anyway ... millions of patriots voted for you! You will win next time - and so will I!" Wilders wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni tweeted: "Hurrah Macron President! There is hope for Europe!" 

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, congratulated Macron, saying he was very pleased that the president-elect defended a strong and progressive Europe.

"I am delighted that the ideas you defended of a strong and progressive Europe, which protects all its citizens, will be those that you will carry into your presidency in the debate about the history of Europe," Juncker said in a letter.

He said the Commission, which is the European Union's executive arm, was also seeking to build a better Europe and expected to work together with Paris on that. 

"The European Commision has been working for two and half years to build a better Europe, a Europe which protects and defends our citizens and gives them the means to react," Juncker said in the latter of congratulations to Macron. 

"You know my determination to follow this agenda until the end of my term. I have full confidence that our collaboration will be very fruitful and will allow us to further our common goals together," he said. (Reuters, DPA)

With polls closed, Macron wins French presidency

Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on Sunday with a business-friendly vision of European integration, defeating Marine Le Pen, a far-right nationalist who threatened to take France out of the European Union, early projections showed.

The centrist's emphatic victory, which also smashed the dominance of Frances mainstream parties, will bring huge relief to European allies who had feared another populist upheaval to follow Britain's vote to quit the EU and Donald Trump's election as U.S. president.

The 39-year-old former investment banker, who served for two years as economy minister but has never previously held elected office, will now become France's youngest leader since Napoleon with a promise to transcend outdated left-right divisions.

Supporters of Emmanuel Macron wave French flags in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris, May 7, 2017.Credit: PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP

Three projections, issued within minutes of polling stations closing at 8 P.M. local time, showed Macron beating Le Pen by around 65 percent to 35 - a gap wider than the 20 or so percentage points that pre-election surveys had pointed to.

Even so, it was a record performance for the National Front, a party whose anti-immigrant policies until recently made it a pariah in French politics, and underlined the scale of the divisions that he must try to heal.

Le Pen's high-spending, anti-globalization 'France-first' policies may have unnerved financial markets but they appealed to many poorer members of society against a background of high unemployment, social tensions and security concerns.

The 48-year-old's share of the vote was set to be almost twice that won by her father Jean-Marie, the last National Front candidate to qualify for a presidential runoff, who was trounced by Jacques Chirac in 2002.

Macron's immediate challenge will be to secure a majority in next month's parliamentary election for En Marche! (Onwards!), his political movement that is barely a year old, in order to implement his program.

However, at least one opinion poll published in the run-up to the second round has indicated that this could be within reach. (Reuters)

Voter turnout around 65% hours before polls close

Turnout figures for the second round of the French presidential election showed a 65.30 percent participation rate by around 5 P.M. local time (6 P.M. Israel time), the Interior Ministry said on Sunday, confirming earlier reports. 

That level was lower than at the same stage of polling day in the past three presidential elections. 

Those participation rate figures compared with a turnout of around 72 percent at the same time in 2012, a 75.1 percent turnout in 2007, and a 67.6 percent turnout in 2002. 

Voter surveys show that it is unclear what the turnout rate could mean for the outcome. (Reuters)

Macron ahead in exit polls, Belgian media reports

Exit polls put centrist Emmanuel Macron ahead of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election's second round, Belgian public broadcaster RTBF reported.

According to leaked polling data, Macron is ahead with 62 to 64 percent of the vote, said RTBF.

Belgium's leading newspaper "Le Soir" also produced similar results, citing four companies that are conducting the exit polls in France. The paper predicts Macron winning the election with over 60 percent of the vote. (Shlomo Papirblat)

Early turnout lowest since 2002 - except in Le Pen strongholds

Midday turnout figures from the Interior Ministry said 28.23 percent of voters had turned out so far, the lowest at this stage of the day since the 2002 presidential poll, when it was 26.19 percent. Turnouts at midday in 2012 and 2007 were 30.66 percent and 34.11 percent respectively. 

French far-right presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, after casting her ballot Sunday, May 7, 2017Credit: Michel Spingler/AP

Highest turnout registered in Le Pen strongholds - The Alps, Provence, Aude and Haute-Marne – where Macron got 18% of the vote compared to Le Pen's 28% on the first round.

In Provence, turnout by 12 PM was 35% of registered voters, compared with the 28% national average.

A poll on Friday had predicted a final turnout of 75 percent this time. The eventual turnouts in 2002, 2007 and 2012 were all above 80 percent. (Dov Alfon)

How turnout could affect the election

Weather in Paris: Rain

The weather in Paris is lousy. Read Dov Alfon's analysis on how this could affect today's outcome

Tourists stand with umbrellas under the rain near the Eiffel Tower on Trocadero Plaza in Paris on May 7, 2017Credit: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP

Marine Le Pen votes in party stronghold

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has cast her ballot in Henin-Beaumont, a small northern town controlled by her National Front party.

Le Pen arrived at the polling station with Henin-Beaumont Mayor Steeve Briois, who took over as the National Front's leader during the presidential election campaign.

Marine Le Pen exits a polling booth in the second round of 2017 French presidential election in Henin-Beaumont, France, May 7, 2017.Credit: PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

She was able to vote without any incident after feminist activists were briefly detained a couple of hours earlier Sunday for hanging a big anti-Le Pen banner from a church.

Polls suggest centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron is favored to beat Le Pen in Sunday's runoff election.

While Le Pen has worked hard to rid her nationalistic party of its xenophobic image, she has campaigned on an anti-immigration, anti-EU platform. (AP)

Front-runner Emmanuel Macron casts vote

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, the front-runner in France's presidential election, has voted in the coastal town of Le Touquet in northern France alongside his wife, Brigitte Macron.

The former Socialist economy minister and one-time banker was all smiles and petted a black dog as he stepped out of his vacation home in the seaside resort.

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron casts his ballot on May 7, 2017.Credit: POOL/REUTERS

For security reasons, Macron was driven to his nearby polling station at Le Touquet City Hall and shook hands with a large crowd of supporters before he and his wife entered the building.

Macron had a large polling lead over far-right leader Marine Le Pen going into Sunday's presidential runoff election. (AP)

Op-ed: There's Nothing 'Post-fascist' or Jew-friendly About Marine Le Pen or Her Voters

"At a campaign rally for Marine Le Pen, I saw the true and toxic face of her appeal: The same identitarian tattoos still visible on the same shaved heads, the same conspiratorial mutters about immigrants, 9/11, dark financial elites who really control the world. It's an experience I suggest for those commentators suggesting that Jews in France, Israel and elsewhere should give a sympathetic hearing to the newly sanitized, allegedly 'post-fascist' National Front candidate and her party. " (Ido Vock)

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An electoral poster of Marine Le Pen overpasted by anti-National Front activists calling to "Sink the marine". Paris, April 16th 2017.Credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP

Op-ed: Counting down the hours before France could become a police state

"The constitution of the Fifth Republic, established by General de Gaulle in 1958, even includes a clause (Article 16) that gives the President emergency powers to immediately interrupt the countrys democratic governance for as long as he or she sees fit and necessary.

Marine Le Pen, far right presidential candidate, at a meeting with French employers' association MEDEF in Paris, March 28th 2017. Credit: PHILIPPE WOJAZER/REUTERS

Given that there is every chance that the country will collapse into violent chaos in the immediate aftermath of a win by Marine Le Pen, there is little reason to suppose that she wouldnt at some point invoke it in the name of security or anti-terrorism. Given that 50% of the military and the police support the National Front, the country could effectively become a police state overnight." (Natasha Lehrer)

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Will it all come down to the weather?

Turnout in the second round of French presidential elections are historically high, roughly 80 percent. But this election falls on a long weekend due to Victory Day and bad weather is further expected with heavy rains forecast over Macron strongholds (Paris and Western France) and amazing sunshine over areas considered favorable to Le Pen (the Alps and the Riviera).

An additional complication is the rising popularity of the "blanc" vote – the empty ballot. These votes, like disqualified votes, are not counted in the final tally but are factored into the voter turnout, inflating the stats. If turnout seems high during election day, many Macron voters might decide to stay home, misreading the turnout and missing the fact that it conceals a low turnout that actually helps Le Pen. (Dov Alfon)

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Polls open in France for second round of presidential election

Polls opened in France for the second round of presidential election at 8 A.M. local time on Sunday.

Some 47 million French voters are expected to choose between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-rightist Marine Le Pen, two candidates who are near polar opposites in their worldviews. (Haaretz and Reuters)

People queue to vote in the presidential runoff election between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, in Marseille on May 7, 2017.Credit: Claude Paris/AP

Op-ed: The 'anti-fascist' left is abstaining from fighting the far right

Not all young people have lost their reason. My own teenage kids were out at the weekend to deface Le Pen posters with witty graffiti. They have been debating the issues with their friends, cousins and fellow students, many of whom, like them, have lived or have family abroad. This may be why theyre open to Macron and his outward-looking, optimistic attitude to both Europe and globalization. My children are proud Europeans, holding British and French nationalities, aware of how fortunate they are, disappointed in Brexit, disgusted by Le Pen. They are what I hope the future looks like. They are the reason I hope and pray that wisdom will prevail on Sunday. (Natasha Lehrer)

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Analysis: The origin of 'Macronleaks' and the real target of Putins hackers

The online dump of 9 gigabytes of emails and other data stolen from the computers of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, most likely by a hackers collective that has links to Russian intelligence, and quickly trumpeted online by American "alt-right" Twitter accounts, along with an army of pro-Kremlin bots, was hardly surprising. The Macron campaign detected months ago Russian attempts to break in to its computer systems, and the pattern of using Kremlin-friendly hackers and online groups to harm western candidates seen by Russias leadership as hostile, is already well-established from last years American elections and elsewhere. (Anshel Pfeffer)

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Fearing Le Pen, Jewish and Muslim leaders urge communities to back Macron

Were trying to persuade people to vote for Macron or not vote at all. Each one of us addresses his congregation, a French Imam told Haaretz, admitting that he's worried about what will happen after the election.

There could be some sort of revenge against Muslims from far-right groups angered by radicalism and all the terror attacks France has faced. For me, the best way to fight this trend is for all of us to remain united, he said. (Shirli Sitbon)

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French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron on the campaign trail in southern France, May 7, 2017.Credit: Christophe Ena/AP

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