Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

French President-elect Macron gears up for challenges ahead

French President-elect Macron gears up for challenges ahead

While some world leaders such as British Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump (though he had earlier backed Le Pen) and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping extended their congratulations to Macron nearly immediately, one of the most interesting well wishes came on Monday morning from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that millions of Europeans were counting on the success of incoming French president Emmanuel Macron.

Hollande's term as president expires May 14 midnight.

Two polls showed that En Marche would top the first round of the June election with 24-26 percent of the vote, ahead of the Republicans with 22 percent and the FN 21-22 percent.

It was the first time Hollande and Macron appeared together in public since August 2016.

On May 7, Macron was elected French president, taking around 65 percent of the vote to Le Pen's 35 percent.

On Monday, though, Hollande gripped Macron's arm before the two men walked side by side and then announced the transfer of power would take place Sunday. The ceremony marked decades of peace in Western Europe, something Macron made a cornerstone of his campaign against Le Pen's brand of nationalist populism.

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The opponents of Macron likely to follow the policies of Donald Trump like Le Pen would like to take France out of worldwide institutions, including both the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; block borders; curtail trade; and impose quasi-Marxist state-dominated economics.

Yet to move into the presidential Elysee Palace, Macron is already preparing his first days in power.

Sylvie Goulard, a French deputy to the European Parliament, said Mr Macron would make Berlin his first official visit, with perhaps a stop to see French troops stationed overseas as well. - "On the Move" - political movement plans to field candidates for all 577 National Assembly seats.

After his victory on Sunday night, Merkel praised the success of Macron and his independent, politically centrist En Marche! movement. That means many of them may be burdened by the handicap of being largely unknown to voters in constituencies they compete for.

Macron won the presidency with 66 percent of votes cast for a candidate.

The French Interior Ministry said with 93 per cent of the votes counted, Macron had about 19.3 million votes, while Ms Le Pen secured about 10.4 million.

Among the approximately 450 candidates set to be announced on Thursday will be a number of familiar political faces from the Socialist party and from the centrist party Modem, headed by Macron ally Francois Bayrou.

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