Centrist Macron wins French presidential election

Centrist Macron wins French presidential election
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Emmanuel Macron, leader of the center-left En Marche! party, won France’s presidential election on Sunday, according to France24 and other outlets. 

The French network projected the win as soon as polls closed, saying Macron had won an estimated 65 percent of the vote. 

Following the initial results, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver said Macron was on track to beat polling expectations.

“Macron headed for a ~31 point win, which will mean polls underestimated him by ~7 pt. A bigger error than Brexit and much bigger than Trump!” Silver tweeted.

Addressing the nation following his victory, Macron thanked Francois Hollande, the current leader, and saluted his opponent, National Front leader Marine Le Pen, according to Reuters.
 
The president-elect said he does not discount the economic issues facing the country and also promised, "France will be on the front line in the fight against terrorism."
 
"I know the country is divided ... I understand the anger, the anxiety, the doubt," he added. “I want to be the president of all the people of France, for the patriots facing the threat of nationalism.”

Macron’s victory deals a blow to the populist movement across Europe, and a former deputy national security adviser to President Obama said he thinks the defeat of Le Pen signals a "blow" to far-right nationalism.

"Macron's win is a blow to far-right nationalism and a sign (after Austrian, Dutch elections) that the Brexit-Trump wave has broken in West," Ben Rhodes tweeted Sunday.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWatergate’s John Dean: Nixon would tell Trump 'he's going too far' Senate Homeland Security chairman requests briefing on Ivanka Trump emails House GOP to hold hearing into DOJ’s probe of Clinton Foundation MORE also weighed in on Twitter, saying Macron's win is a "victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world" and a "Defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can't talk about that)."

Clinton's campaign, like Macron's, was targeted by hacks and interference that many believe to be tied to Russia. 

 

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Macron and Le Pen emerged as the top two contenders following the first round of France’s presidential election last month.

Le Pen called Macron and conceded shortly after the announced projections, Reuters said.

"France has voted for continuity," the National Front leader said. She said she called Macron to congratulate him, even as she urged the National Front and its supporters to regroup. 

"I propose we embark on a completely new phase for our party, which the French want and is absolutely necessary," she said. " ... I urge all my supporters to commit to this campaign."

President Trump, who pundits have compared to Le Pen, congratulated Macron on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

“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 wrote.

The White House also issued a statement on the results, saying: “We congratulate President-elect Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election,” Spicer said. “We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.”

Some of the rhetoric during Le Pen's presidential campaign echoed that of Trump's, specifically on immigration and national security issues. Both candidates during their bids criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Trump has since backed off his NATO criticisms, saying the alliance is "no longer obsolete."

A Le Pen victory would likely have marked a sharp shift in French politics, as the National Front leader has spoke of at least partially withdrawing from NATO and holding a referendum on France's membership in the European Union (EU).

Outgoing French President Francois Hollande also called Macron to congratulate him, CNN reported. 

“His large victory confirms that a very large majority of our citizens wanted to assemble around the values of the Republic and mark their attachment to the European Union as well as to the openness of France in the world," a statement from the president reads. 

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement following the projection results, according to a reporter for Agence France-Presse.

“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 shard priorities,” the spokesperson said.

Other European leaders took to Twitter to commend Macron, such as Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and the head of the European Commission. 

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Macron on the win.

“Congratulations, @EmmanuelMacron. Your victory is a victory for a strong and United Europe and the Franco-German friendship,” Steffen Seibert said. 

The value of the Euro reportedly jumped after Macron was projected as the winner.

The closely watched race has been viewed as a test of the nativist and populist sentiments rising to the surface in Europe since the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union and since President Trump’s November election victory in the U.S.

Le Pen's loss would be the second for a far-right party in Europe in recent months. Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands lost in the country's March election. 

Macron in the last week officially gained the support of former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama visits Chicago food bank ahead of Thanksgiving Michelle Obama's memoir is 2018's fastest-selling book at Barnes & Noble Dem bundler: Donors waiting on 2020 commitments until Beto O'Rourke makes decision MORE, who endorsed Macron on Thursday. But his campaign also fell victim to a large-scale email hack just days before the election when an archive of purported campaign was posted online.

The Sunday runoff putting Macron against Le Pen did not include a candidate from one of France's major political parties. 

Macron, who is consistently pro-European Union, previously served as the economy minister under current Hollande.

Updated 4:45 p.m.