PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron of France has been re-elected for a second term, defeating his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen by a large margin in a runoff election.
When the results were projected on a large screen near the Eiffel Tower in the Champ de Mars park on Sunday, his loyalists erupted in applause. His triumph over Le Pen, a nationalist and eurosceptic, was praised by leaders in Berlin, Brussels, London, and elsewhere.
According to interior ministry calculations, Macron was on course for a solid 57.4 percent of the vote with 97 percent of votes counted. However, he acknowledged in his victory speech that many people voted for him merely to keep Le Pen out, and he promised to address the common belief that the French are losing their living standards.
Emmanuel Macron: “Many in this country voted for me not because they support my ideas but to keep out those of the far-right. I want to thank them and know I owe them a debt in the years to come.”
He added, “No one in France will be left by the wayside,” he said in a message that had already been spread by senior ministers doing the rounds on French TV stations.
Le Pen, who was only a few points behind Macron in opinion polls at one point during the campaign, quickly accepted defeat. But, with parliamentary elections set for June, she pledged to continue fighting.
She said in a message to her loyalists, “I will never abandon the French.”
Several world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his victory in the French presidential election.
According to a Sputnik correspondent, a conflict between radicals and law enforcement authorities erupted in Paris shortly after the preliminary presidential election results were released, with police using tear gas against demonstrators.
After the first results were announced, young people began gathering around the Place de la Republique in Paris, according to a Sputnik correspondent. Anti-Macron and anti-Le Pen slogans were heard.
After midnight, about 100 protestors remained in the square, mocking police officers and shouting “We are anti-fascists!”