Macron holds back far-right push in France election: live updates and reactions
PARIS — Officials across Europe reacted quickly with a sigh of relief on Sunday after French President Emmanuel Macron comfortably beat far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the presidential election.
“Together, we will move France and Europe forward,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union. written in French on Twitter.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, wrote on Twitter that “we can count on France for another five years”, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Mr Macron’s re-election was a “vote of confidence in Europe”.
Mr. Macron’s office said on Sunday that Mr. Scholz had called Mr. Macron to congratulate him. “This is the first call the president has received and taken, a sign of Franco-German friendship,” his office said.
At home, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Mr Macron’s foreign minister, told France 2 television that he was “convinced” that Mr Macron would be “up to the challenges that await him”.
Final results are yet to be released, but French pollsters predict Mr Macron won with around 58% of the vote. Yet his political opponents have warned that his next term should heed the simmering anger of the French electorate as the far right has won more votes than it has in decades.
“There has never been such a vote of desperation,” Christian Jacob, the leader of the conservative Republican party, told French television.
About 28% of the French electorate did not take part in this round of the election – the highest level in more than 50 years in the second round of a presidential vote.
“He floats in a sea of abstention and blank or invalid ballots,” said Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the incendiary leftist who came third in the first round of elections earlier this month, in a speech by Mr. Macron on Sunday. .
Mr. Mélenchon hopes to become Prime Minister if his party obtains a strong majority in the legislative elections, which will be held in June. “The third round starts tonight,” he said.
Key European leaders had expressed thinly veiled concern over the possibility of a Le Pen victory. Last week, the leaders of Germany, Portugal and Spain took the highly unusual step in an opinion piece in Le Monde to implicitly urge French voters to reject it.
On Sunday, Christian Lindner, Germany’s finance minister, said a united Europe was the biggest winner. “That choice was a directional choice,” he wrote. on Twitter. “These were fundamental issues of values.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez hailed Mr Macron’s victory as proof that the French want “a free, strong and fair EU”
Officials outside the European Union also reacted.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky also congratulated Mr Macron on his victory, calling him a “true friend of Ukraine” on Twitter. “I appreciate his support and I am confident that we will move forward together towards new shared victories,” he wrote.
And, Christine Lagarde, the boss of the European Central Bank, sent her “warmest congratulations” to Mr. Macron.
“Strong leadership is essential in these uncertain times and your tireless dedication will be essential in meeting 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”.
“I look forward to continuing to work together on the issues that matter most to our two countries and to the world,” Johnson wrote.
Liz Alderman and Raphael Minder contributed report.
April 24, 2022
An earlier version of this article misrepresented Christine Lagarde’s position. She is the head of the European Central Bank, not the head of the International Monetary Fund.