Emmanuel Macron, the European Union-favored candidate who managed to posture himself as a firebrand outsider despite his deep ties to the outgoing Socialist administration, has prevailed in the runoff election against populist Marine Le Pen, with initial estimates suggesting that he obtained about 65 percent of the vote.
The presidency will be the first elected office ever held by Macron, whose political career kicked off in 2006 when he joined the Socialist Party. He took on a senior role in Socialist President Francois Hollandeâ€™s staff in 2012 and was appointed as the Minister of Economy and Finance in August 2014, months before Franceâ€™s unemployment rate reached levels not seen for nearly two decades.
Macron will take the reins of a France that has been subsumed by the ever-present threat of terrorism and a flagging economy that has resisted all efforts to set it back on course. He has characterized mass migration as â€śunavoidableâ€ť and waved away concerns over the issue as â€ścultural insecurityâ€ť caused by â€śconfusions and misunderstandings.â€ť
Turnout was surprisingly low given the contentious first round of voting that saw Macron and Le Pen upend the traditional political system in France by unseating candidates from both the Socialist and Republican parties, which have traded power back and forth throughout modern French history.
Together with his newly-formed En Marche! party, Macron promises to adopt a set of free market, pro-business reforms that will hopefully stimulate the economy and put an end to the mass unemployment that has hamstrung France for so long. He also hopes to espouse his brand of leftwing social issues, at the heart of which stands his dedication to promoting multiculturalism and diversity throughout the country.
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images