Emmanuel Macron has won France
challenge from far-right candidate Marine Le Pen during Sunday’s runoff vote.
Macron took 58.55% of Sunday’s vote, making him the first French leader to be
reelected in 20 years. He and Le Pen advanced to the runoff after finishing in first and
second place, respectively, among 12 candidates who ran in the first round on April
While the contest was a rematch of the 2017 French presidential runoff, much of
Europe watched the election with unease. A Le Pen presidency would have
fundamentally changed France’s relationship with the European Union and the West,
at a time when the bloc and its allies rely on Paris to take a leading role in
confronting some of the world’s biggest challenges — most notably, the war in
And though Macron’s pitch to voters of a globalized, economically liberal France at
the head of a muscular European Union won out over Le Pen’s vision for a radical
shift inward, the 41.45% of people who voted for her put the French far right closer to
the presidency than ever before.
Le Pen’s performance is the latest indication that the French public is turning to
extremist politicians to voice their dissatisfaction with the status quo. In the first
round, far-left and far-right candidates accounted for more than 57% of the ballots
Many of those unsatisfied with the final two candidates stayed home. The voter
abstention rate for the runoff was 28%, according to the French Interior Ministry, the
highest for a runoff since 2002.
Macron’s supporters, gathered on Champs de Mars in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower
in central Paris, broke out in massive cheers when the news was announced. The
celebration was significantly lower-key than after Macron’s victory in 2017, though he
did once again walk to deliver his speech to the European anthem, commonly
referred to as the “Ode to Joy.”
n his victory speech, Macron vowed to be the “president for each and every one of
you.” He then thanked his supporters and acknowledged that many, like in 2017,
voted for him simply to block the extreme right.
Macron said that his second term would not be a continuation of his first, committing
to address all of France’s current problems.
He also addressed those who supported Le Pen directly, saying that he, as president,
must find an answer to “the anger and disagreements” that led them to vote for the
“It will be my responsibility and that of those who surround me,” Macron said.
Le Pen delivered a concession speech within a half hour of the first projection,
speaking to her backers gathered at a pavilion in western Paris’ Bois de Boulogne.
“A great wind of freedom could have blown over our country, but the ballot box
decided otherwise,” Le Pen said.