French elections: Macron delays push for far-right

credit…Tibo Kamo/The Associated Press

Officials across Europe breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday after French President Emmanuel Macron handily defeated far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the presidential election.

“Together, we will push France and Europe forward,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, I wrote in French on Twitter.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council, He wrote on Twitter that “we can count on France for another five years,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Mr Macron’s re-election was a “vote of confidence in Europe”.

Macron’s office said on Sunday that Schultz called Macron to congratulate him. “This is the president’s first call and received, and it is a sign of Franco-German friendship,” his office said.

At home, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Macron’s foreign minister, told France 2 he was “convinced” that Macron would be “up to the challenges ahead”.

Final results have not yet been released, but French poll organizers expect Mr Macron to win with around 58 percent of the vote. However, his political opponents have warned that his upcoming term must take into account the growing anger in the French electorate, where the far right has won more votes than it has in decades.

“There has never been such a vote of desperation,” Christian Jacob, head of the conservative Republican Party, said on French television.

Nearly 28 percent of French voters sat in this round of elections – the highest level in more than 50 years in the second round of the presidential vote.

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“He is swimming in a sea of ​​abstentions, blank or invalid ballots,” Jean-Luc Melenchon, a controversial leftist who came third in the first round of elections early this month, said in a speech on Sunday. Macron.

Mr Melenchon hopes to become prime minister if his party secures a strong majority in parliamentary elections scheduled for June. “Round three starts tonight,” he said.

Senior European leaders had hardly expressed concern about the prospect of Le Pen’s victory. Last week, the leaders of Germany, Portugal and Spain took a very unusual step in Opinion article in Le Monde to tacitly urge the French electorate to reject it.

On Sunday, Christian Lindner, Germany’s finance minister, said a united Europe was the biggest winner. “This choice was a directional choice,” he wrote. on Twitter. “It was about fundamental questions of values.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez hailed Mr Macron’s victory as proof that the French want a “free, strong and just European Union”.

Officials from outside the European Union also responded.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also congratulated Macron on his victory, calling him on Twitter a “true friend of Ukraine”. He wrote, “I appreciate his support and am convinced that we will move forward together toward new joint victories.”

Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, extended her “warmest congratulations” to Mr Macron.

“Strong leadership is essential in these turbulent times and your tireless dedication will be sorely needed to meet the challenges we face in Europe,” Ms Lagarde wrote on Twitter.

And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted That “France is one of our closest and most important allies”.

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“I look forward to continuing to work together on the issues that are most important to our two countries and the world,” Johnson wrote.

Liz Alderman And Raphael Minder Contribute to the preparation of reports.

revision:

April 24, 2022

An earlier version of this article misinterpreted Christine Lagarde. She is the head of the European Central Bank, not the head of the International Monetary Fund.

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