Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Trump praises Macron for 'big win' in France's election

"We said in January that this was going to be a make-or-break year for Europe and this is a positive". "It's my responsibility to hear them", he said. At a victory party late on Sunday night, he walked out to the European anthem "Ode to Joy", rather than its French equivalent "La Marseillaise". The prospective President of France will be powerful only if he has a majority in Parliament to help push through his party's programme.

One third of voters in France preferred Le Pen, the scion of an anti-EU political party that was once on the fringe of French politics.

A White House statement cited the 39-year-old Macron and the French people for "their successful presidential election" and said the United States looks forward to "continuing our close relationship with the French government". But she defiantly claimed the mantle of France's main Opposition by calling on "all patriots to join us" in constituting a "new political force".

Her tally was nearly double the score that her father Jean-Marie, the last far-right candidate to make the presidential runoff, achieved in 2002, when he was trounced by the conservative Jacques Chirac.

Public television commented on the "importance" of Macron's victory but also pointed to the high abstention rate. "I will defend France, its vital interests. I've voted for the left in the past and been disappointed".

French president-elect Emmanuel Macron is laying the groundwork for his transition to power, with plans for a visit to Germany, a name change for his political movement and an appearance Monday with the man whose job he assumes. Macron says that France is facing an "immense task" to rebuild European unity, fix the economy and ensure security against extremist threats.

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Opinion surveys taken before the second round suggested that his fledgling movement had a fighting chance of securing the majority he needed.

It also marks decades of peace in Western Europe, something Macron made a cornerstone of his campaign against Le Pen's brand of populism.

He will be the youngest leader in the current Group of Seven major nations and has elicited comparisons with youthful leaders past and present, from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to British ex-premier Tony Blair and even the late USA president John F. Kennedy.

Now French voters have removed the last remaining big political risk for the euro this year.

Michael Roth, Germany's deputy foreign minister, applauded Macron's win but said the result was marred by the fact that 11 million people in France voted for Le Pen. "Its image", its headline quoted him saying.

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