Populism still threatens France despite Macron victory

Emmanuel Macron may have won Sunday's presidential election by a comfortable margin, but even his supporters' enthusiasm is tempered by the scale of the challenge that the inexperienced politician faces in tackling France's deep-seated economic, social and security problems. "We look forward to working with the new president and continuing our close cooperation with the French government", Spicer said according to the statement.

It was this latter France that voted for Macron's far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen.

Le Pen's performance punctured her hopes that the populist wave which swept Donald Trump into the White House and led Britain to vote to leave the European Union would also carry her to France's presidential Elysee Palace.

A former investment banker, Mr Macron became economy minister in 2014 but resigned two years later to set up his own movement, En Marche!

Valls told RTL radio that France's Socialist party "is dead and behind us" and said he wants to join up with President-elect Emmanuel Macron's Republic on the Move.

Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras said Macron's victory was "an inspiration for France and for Europe", adding he was "sure we will work closely together".

With 99.99% of ballots counted yesterday, Macron had 66.06% of the vote in the first ever election he has contested, far ahead of the nationalist Le Pen at 33.94%.

Before he announced his candidacy for president his team, inspired by the Obama campaign in the USA in 2008, carried out a survey of thousands of French citizens to hear what policies they wanted from their politicians.

A new name would help Le Pen distance herself from the old guard - including her father, party founder Jean-Marie, who was kicked out under his daughter's image revamping.

A few minutes earlier, President Trump tweeted his congratulations to Macron, saying he looks forward to working with him.

"I will be the candidate of the presidential majority [at the election]..."

"Putin also wished Macron strong health, prosperity and success in such a responsible position at the head of state", it said.

President Donald Trump of the USA also said: "Ì look forward to working closely with President-elect Macron in the years ahead as we work together on a progressive agenda to promote global security, increase collaboration in science and technology, and create good, middle class jobs on both sides of the Atlantic".

Until now, modern France had been governed either by the Socialists or the conservatives - but both Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen upended those political traditions. The world of arts has been anti-Le Pen throughout the contentious campaign.

The clear bias in favor of Macron in the markets over the far-right candidate Le Pen rests on a number of factors, above all related to his views on Europe.

Hillary Clinton, who lost last year's election to Trump, tweeted, "Victory for Macron, for France, the European Union, & the world".

Now he must convert his extraordinary rise - unprecedented in recent French history - into a solid presence in the National Assembly.

Macron, 39, will be the nation's youngest president.

In his victory speech, Macron vowed to "rebuild the relationship between Europe and the peoples that make it", and symbolically, Macron said German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be the first foreign leader he will meet as president.

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