FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON WINS SECOND TERM

The pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron has won a second term as French president, becoming the first leader to win re-election in France for 20 years, after a bruising campaign in which he beat the far right’s Marine Le Pen by a decisive 58.2% to 41.8%, according to initial projected results.

Macron, who is to address supporters in a victory rally at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, beat Le Pen with a lower margin than the 66% he won against her in 2017. Turnout was also lower than five years ago, with abstention estimated at 28%.

Le Pen succeeded in delivering the far right its biggest-ever score in a French presidential election, after campaigning on the cost of living crisis, and promising a ban on the Muslim headscarf in public places as well as nationalist measures to give priority to native-French people over others for jobs, housing, benefits and healthcare. She called it “a shining victory in itself”, adding: “The ideas we represent are reaching summits.”

During a frantic final two weeks’ campaigning, Macron had travelled to town squares across France to shake off what he felt was the unjustly persistent tag of a being an aloof “president of the rich”. He had promised to dedicate the next five years to restoring France to full employment, arguing that his policies such as loosening French labour laws had already succeeded in creating jobs and that he would definitively put an end to the country’s decades of mass unemployment.

But although Macron has promised his own swift new package of laws to address the cost of living crisis and tempered his time frame for raising the retirement age, he ultimately focused far less on his own manifesto in the final days and more on stopping what he called the “unthinkable”: the far-right, anti-immigration Le Pen taking the helm in France, the eurozone’s second biggest economy and a nuclear power.

Source: TheGuardian UK

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