PARIS — Pro-EU independent centrist Emmanuel Macron stormed to victory in the French presidential election on Sunday, roundly defeating his far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a run-off vote.
At a victory party outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, Macron supporters roared with delight at the news, waving red, white and blue tricolor flags. The jubilant crowd swelled to thousands as the night wore on.
“A new page in our long history is opening tonight. I want it to be one of hope and renewed confidence,” Macron said.
Le Pen quickly called the 39-year-old Macron to concede defeat after voters rejected her “French-first” nationalism by a large margin. Macron, in a solemn televised victory speech, vowed to heal the social divisions exposed by France’s acrimonious election campaign and bring “hope and renewed confidence” to his country.
“I know the divisions in our nation that led some to extreme votes. I respect them,” he declared, unsmiling. “I know the anger, the anxiety, the doubts that a large number of you also expressed. It is my responsibility to hear them.”
The result wasn’t even close: With four-fifths of votes counted, Macron had 64 percent support to Le Pen’s 36 percent.
Here is a selection of early comments from world leaders and other political heavyweights on Macron’s election victory.
“Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!” US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.
Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2017
The White House earlier released a press statement saying: We congratulate President-elect Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election. We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.”
Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and Trump’s rival in the 2016 US presidential elections, said “Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world,” adding that his win was a “defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can’t talk about that).” Clinton was refering to the ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in the US elections last year and the Trump’s campaign alleged collusion with the Russians, as well as the massive hacking of emails from Macron’s campaign that were published online just two days before voters went to the polls, in a move aimed at harming the candidate.
Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world.
Defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can't talk about that)
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 7, 2017
Former US President Bill Clinton tweeted:”Congratulations to President-elect @EmmanuelMacron and the French people.”
Congratulations to President-elect @EmmanuelMacron and the French people.
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) May 7, 2017
“The French people refused the politics of hate and voted to uphold our shared values of liberte, egalite, and fraternite,” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.
The French people refused the politics of hate and voted to uphold our shared values of liberté, égalité, and fraternité. https://t.co/XzcU9AuBxv
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 7, 2017
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hailed Macron’s victory, saying he looked forward “to working closely with President-elect Macron in the years ahead as we work together on a progressive agenda to promote international security, increase collaboration in science and technology, and create good, middle class jobs on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said in a statement.
“Canada and France share a warm and historic relationship, rooted in our common history, deep cultural ties, people-to-people connections, and strong economic partnership,” Trudeau added in a statement.
He pledged more cooperation on issues such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, G7, G20 and La Francophonie, the international organization of French-speaking countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff has congratulated Emmanuel Macron, tweeting in French “vive la France, Vive L’Europe!” or “Long live France, long live Europe!”
Peter Altmaier says the result is “a strong signal for our common values.”
Vive La France! Vive L'Europe!Signal fort pour nos valeurs communs et Le Franco-Allemand!Felicitations à Emmanuel Macron!Bonne présidence!
— Peter Altmaier (@peteraltmaier) May 7, 2017
Merkel also spoke to Macron on the phone, praising him for backing a “united and open European Union.”
Merkel’s chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert, also has tweeted in French “felicitations,” or congratulations. He says it’s “a victory for a strong and united Europe.”
Before the results came in, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat, urged support for Macron in his efforts to create jobs and undermine support for the National Front party’s nationalist approach under far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Gabriel said that a Macron victory means that “we have only won time. We must do everything to see that Macron succeeds.”
Theresa May said she looks forward to working with Macron. “The Prime Minister warmly congratulates President-elect Macron on his election success. France is one of our closest allies and we look forward to working with the new President on a wide range of shared priorities,” said a Downing Street spokesman.
Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed his relief at the defeat of far-right Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election.
Corbyn tweeted Sunday that he was “delighted that the French people have decisively rejected Le Pen’s politics of hate.”
I am delighted that the French people have decisively rejected Le Pen's politics of hate.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 7, 2017
Meanwhile, the former leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, offered his condolences to Le Pen, saying she could win France’s next election in 2022.
Farage, who led the effort to take Britain out of the European Union, tweeted that Macron “offers 5 more years of failure, power to the EU and open borders.”
Although he no longer heads UKIP, Farage remains a figurehead for nationalist parties in Europe.
“Happy that the French chose a European future,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wrote on Twitter.
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) May 7, 2017
EU Council President Donald Tusk also offered his congratulations, saying the French had chosen “liberty, equality and fraternity” and “said no to the tyranny of fake news.”
Congratulations @EmmanuelMacron. Congratulations to French people for choosing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity over tyranny of fake news.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) May 7, 2017
“Congratulations to @EmmanuelMacron, new president of #France. Let us work in France and Spain for a stable, prosperous and more integrated Europe,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a tweet.
— Mariano Rajoy Brey (@marianorajoy) May 7, 2017
“Congratulations @Emmanuel Macron! We can achieve more together than on our own. Looking forward to our cooperation,” Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen tweeted.
— Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) May 7, 2017
“This is a victory for the French people and for European cooperation. New opportunities will now open up for the proactive agenda needed to strengthen the EU, including more jobs and fair working conditions, a stronger climate policy and a functioning asylum system in which everyone takes responsibility,” said Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
Belgium’s prime minister welcomed the election of Macron as French president and invited him to join in the effort to reinvigorate the European Union.
Charles Michel has been a staunch backer of Macron in the elections and said in a twitter message “Bravo” when he learned of the clear-cut victory over extreme-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Michel called on Macron to “let us work together to give Europe new momentum.”
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) May 7, 2017
“I congratulate @EmmanuelMacron on his victory in the French presidential election. Brazil and France will continue to work together for democracy, human rights, development, integration and peace,” tweeted President Michel Temer.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated the new leader and called on him “to work for peace in the region.”
— Pres. Mahmoud Abbas (@president_abbas) May 7, 2017
In The Netherlands, Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders commiserated with Marine Le Pen, saying in a tweet: “Well done anyway @MLP_officiel millions of patriots voted for you! You will win next time – and so will I!”
In Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the far-right Freedom Party, said Le Pen deserves “respect… She is from now on the strongest opposition force against Macron.”
Macron “strategically positioned himself a year and a half ago as pseudo-independent,” Strache said on Facebook.