French centrist leader Emmanuel Macron on Sunday won a second term as the country’s president, defeating far-right rival Marine Le Pen, BBC reported.
Macron, who leads the political party La Republique En Marche (The Republic Onwards), won 58.55% of the popular vote. Le Pen, who is the leader of the National Rally, secured 41.45% of the votes.
Macron has become the first French president in the past two decades to have won a second term, according to AFP. However, Sunday’s result has also been the closest that the far-right has ever come to securing power in the European country.
Nearly 72% of the voters cast their ballot, in the lowest turnout in a presidential election since 1969.
After the results became clear, Macron told supporters at the foot of the Eiffel Tower that he would now be a president for all.
“An answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right,” he said, according to BBC. “It will be my responsibility and that of those around me.”
Macron said that the people had made a choice for a humanist and ambitious project for the independence of “our country and our Europe”. He also promised a “renewed method” to govern the country, and said that the new era would not be one of continuity.
Meanwhile, Le Pen said that she accepted the results, but asserted that her vote share still marked a victory. She said that the ideas that her party espoused reached new heights.
The far-right leader said that she was already preparing for legislative elections in June, and added that she felt hopeful.
World leaders congratulate Macron
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Macron on the result, tweeting that he looked “forward to continue working together to deepen the India-France Strategic Partnership”.
United States President Joe Biden said that he looks forward to continued co-operation between his country and France – “including on supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and countering climate change”.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that she looks forward to continuing their excellent co-operation. “Together, we will ensure the advancement of France and Europe,” she said.
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Macron and described France as one of his country’s most important allies. “I look forward to continuing to work together on the issues which matter most to our two countries and to the world,” he said.