Emmanuel Macron will be inaugurated as France’s next leader on Sunday at the Elysee palace, outgoing President Francois Hollande told French television.
Hollande was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony in Paris today the day after Macron, a pro-EU centrist, won a resounding victory over far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
Macron’s victory marked the third time in six months – following elections in Austria and the Netherlands – that European voters shot down far-right populists who wanted to restore borders across Europe.
The election of a French president who championed European unity could also strengthen the EU’s hand in its complex divorce proceedings with Britain.
Parisians lined streets outside his campaign headquarters as Macron left in a motorcade to join the party at the Louvre.
There, the European anthem “Ode to Joy” played as Macron strode out to address his supporters.
“France has won!” he said. “Everyone said it was impossible. But they did not know France!”
Saying Le Pen voters backed her because they were angry, he vowed: “”I will do everything in the five years to come so there is no more reason to vote for the extremes.”
Many French voters had backed him reluctantly, simply to keep out Le Pen and her National Front party, which has a long anti-Semitic and racist history.
After the most closely watched and unpredictable French presidential campaign in recent memory, many voters rejected the runoff choices altogether. Pollsters projected that French voters cast blank or spoiled ballots in record numbers yesterday.