Much to the relief of the European Union, the Centrist’s Party candidate, 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron has been declared winner of Sunday’s presidential elections in France.
Macron, who has a business-friendly vision of European integration, defeated far-right Nationalist, Marine Le Pen, who had threatened to pull France out of the European Union (EU) if she was elected.
The emphatic victory, which saw Macron pick up 66 percent of valid votes, is believed to have smashed the dominance of France’s mainstream parties and avoided another populist upheaval following Britain’s vote to quit the EU.
In his post-election speech which was televised live, Macron acknowledged the divisions in France and promised to unite Europe as a continent.
“I know the divisions in our nation, which have led some to vote for the extremes. I respect them. I will fight with all my strength against the divisions that are undermining us,” the youthful president-elect said.
“I will work to recreate the link between Europe and its peoples, between Europe and its citizens,” he added.
Macron, who was brought into politics by outgoing President, Francois Hollande, will become France’s youngest leader after Napoleon.
The former investment-banker had previously served two years under Hollande as Economy Minister and is expected to move into the Elysee Palace after his inauguration next weekend.