Re-elected French President Facing Challenge
by Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
PARIS (Worthy News) – French President Emmanuel Macron defeated far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Sunday, triggering relief among allies that the nuclear-armed nation won’t shift course amid war in Ukraine.
However, 44-year-old Macron, the first leader to win a second term in some 20 years, admitted dissatisfaction and pledged to make amends.
His supporters erupted with joy as the results of Sunday’s second and final round of presidential elections appeared on a giant screen at the Champ de Mars park by the Eiffel tower.
Leaders in Berlin, Brussels, London, and beyond welcomed his victory over the nationalist, eurosceptic Le Pen.
While pleased with the results, Macron stressed that he realized that “Many of our compatriots voted for me not out of support for my ideas but to block those of the extreme right. I want to thank them, and I know that I have a duty towards them in the years to come.”
He stressed that “We will have to be benevolent and respectful because our country is riddled with so many doubts, so many divisions.”
In a speech addressing supporters and his nation, the president pledged that “No one will be left by the wayside. It will be up to us to work together to achieve this unity which will enable us to live happier lives in France.” He admitted that “The years to come will certainly not be quiet, but they will be historic.”
Yet Le Pen hailed her score in the presidential vote on Sunday as a “brilliant victory” despite her projected defeat to Macron.
Promising to “carry on” her political career, the 53-year-old vowed that she would “never abandon” the French after losing around 42 percent of the vote to Macron’s roughly 58.
She joined other challengers eliminated in the first election round in calling for a new effort to make the president’s second term more difficult at June parliamentary polls. A hostile Parliament would make it more difficult for the president to carry out his promised reforms policies.
“The ideas we represent have reached new heights… this result itself represents a brilliant victory,” she told a crowd of supporters at an election-night party.
“This evening, we launch the great battle for the legislative elections,” Le Pen added, calling on opponents of the president to join with her National Rally (RN) party.
Across the world, however, several leaders appeared pleased with the results, with U.S. President Joe Biden saying on the social networking site Twitter: “I look forward to our continued close cooperation — including on supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and countering climate change.”
World organizations were also relieved with Sunday’s outcome, with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi sending his “warm congratulations.”
He said his organization would continue to count on Macron’s support on the European and World stage “as humanitarian challenges and refugee crises become more serious and complex every day.” Millions of refugees have already fled the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine in what is Europe’s biggest refugee challenge since World War Two.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus looked forward to “continuing the important partnership” with France “for a healthier, safer, fairer world.”
The results were also music to the ears of the European Union’s Council President Charles Michel, who wrote on Twitter: “We can count on France for five more years.” The EU’s executive European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed: “I am delighted to be able to continue our excellent cooperation,” she tweeted.
Other world leaders reflected these sentiments, including Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who called France “one of our closest and most important allies.” And recently elected German Chancellor Chancellor Olaf Scholz said French voters “have sent a strong vote of confidence in Europe today. I am happy that we will continue our good cooperation”.
Yet Macron will start his second term amid the worst East-West tensions with Russia in decades, though he has kept open communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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