Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

French President-elect Macron gears up for challenges ahead

French President-elect Macron gears up for challenges ahead

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

But Le Pen's 34 percent - a high in any national election for her far-right National Front - confirms her party as a formidable force, its French-first nationalism increasingly accepted by a growing swath of electors despite its history of anti-Semitism and racism. Macron has promised that half of those candidates will be new to elected politics. Some of Mr Macron's backers welcomed the move while others expressed hostility to Mr Valls and suggested that he might suffer the humiliation of being rejected as a candidate.

But many commentators said the fact that a third of the electorate either abstained or cast blank or spoiled votes on Sunday showed Macron would start his mandate under intense scrutiny.

"The only credible change would be for Marion Le Pen to replace Marine Le Pen, because she is clearly superior to her", di Borgo said.

The France Insoumise (France Unbowed) of firebrand leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon was trailing in fourth with 13-15 percent, ahead of the tattered Socialists of outgoing President Francois Hollande on eight-nine percent.

We welcome the Emmanuel Macron as new French president.

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.

Monday also marked decades of peace in Western Europe, something Macron made a cornerstone of his campaign against Le Pen's brand of populism.

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

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.

The far-right National Front party is also gearing up for a name change, if not a makeover of its ideas, after Ms Le Pen's decisive loss. In interviews Monday, party officials said a new name would aim to broaden its appeal.

"The National Front is a tool that will evolve to be more efficient, bring even more people together after the number of voters we reached last night".

"The French voted for continuity and I called Monsieur Macron Macron to congratulate him on his election", she said.

"It mustn't become normal that right-wing extremists and populists achieve such strong results", said Roth, whose portfolio includes relations with France.

But Le Pen's high score showed that resistance to the party is fizzling out, meaning the FN can hope to significantly improve on its current tally of two seats in parliament.

Market reaction Monday to Macron's victory was subdued: investors were expecting it and seem wary of the difficulties he faces.

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