- Macron has won the election
- Incumbent president took 58.5% of the vote ahead of Marine Le Pen's 41.5%
- Voter abstention nears record high at 28%
- German Chancellor Scholz eyes positive cooperation with Macron in French leader's first call after reelection
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Biden congratulates Macron and says will cooperate in 'defending democracy'
US President Joe Biden congratulated Macron and said he looked forward to continued close cooperation.
He wrote on Twitter that France was the US's "oldest ally and a key partner in addressing global challenges."
"I look forward to our continued close cooperation — including on supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and countering climate change," Biden said.
US expects close cooperation with reelected Macron
The US was anticipating further close cooperation with France following President Emmanuel Macron’s reelection, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
He congratulated the French leader in a tweet, saying, "We look forward to continuing close cooperation with France on global challenges, underpinning our long and enduring Alliance and friendship."
Zelenskyy calls Macron a 'true friend'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent his congratulations to reelected French President Emmanuel Macron early Monday.
"Congratulations to the President and a true friend @EmmanuelMacron on the election victory," Zelenskyy wrote in a Twitter post.
Zelenskyy went on to thank Macron and the French public for their support as Russia's war in Ukraine continues.
"I wish Emmanuel Macron new successes for the benefit of the French people. I appreciate the support of France and I am convinced: we are stepping together to new common victories! To a strong and united Europe!"
Macron speaks to Scholz in first call after reelection
Following his reelection, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Elysee Presidential Office said Sunday night.
"Chancellor Scholz called the President to congratulate him," the Elysee said in a statement, adding: "It was the first call taken by the President, a mark of Franco-German friendship."
"The Federal Chancellor and the President confirmed their intention to continue the close and trusting relationship between Germany and France, not least in view of the current challenges such as the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine,'' Scholz's office said in a statement of its own.
Scholz congratulated Macron earlier on Twitter, saying: "I am happy that we will continue our good cooperation."
Scholz and Macron agreed to meet in person as soon as possible to coordinate on bilateral, international and European policy issues.
Macron thanks voters in victory speech
Macron addressed his supporters at a party rally in front of the Eiffel Tower on Sunday evening.
"After five years of happy and sometimes difficult times, today a majority of you chose me to represent the Republic for the coming 5 years," he said.
Speaking to the many people who picked him only to avoid far-right leader Marine Le Pen from winning, he promised to take their support seriously.
He promised to be a "president for all of us" and that his second term would "not be a continuation of my previous mandate."
Macron also spoke to those who abstained from voting — mainly supporters of Socialist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon — who came a strong third place in the first round.
"Their silence means they refused to choose and we need to take that into account," Macron said.
Acknowledging the sometimes bitter election battle against populist candidate Le Pen, he offered a message of unity saying: "We need to be respectful because we have had so many divisions and doubts."
"Many of our compatriots voted for me not out of support for my ideas but to block those of the extreme right," Macron said. "I want to thank them and I know that I have a duty towards them in the years to come."
The president also promised to continue to "work for a fairer, equal society." and said "in order to do that we need to be demanding and ambitious."
Protesters skirmish with police
Riot police took to the streets of Paris and some other French cities Sunday night after the announcement of the presidential election results.
Authorities expected far-right and far-left groups to demonstrate against Emmanuel Macron's reelection. A political centrist, he is disliked by both the political extremes.
The city of Rennes had banned far-left protests earlier this week, but demonstrators came out and clashed with police. At least two people were arrested in the northwestern French city.
'Democracy wins, Europe wins,' says Spain's PM
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the victory of Emmanuel Macron represented a win for both democracy and Europe.
"Citizens have chosen a France committed to a free, strong and fair EU,'' Sanchez, who is also leader of Spain's Socialist Party, wrote, referring to the 27-nation European Union.
Far-right's Zemmour calls for nationalist groups to join forces
French far-right leader Eric Zemmour said France's nationalist parties need to unite ahead of parliament elections in June.
"The political situation ahead of parliamentary elections forces us to act ... the nationalist bloc needs to unite, nationalist movements must join forces," said Zemmour.
Zemmour, who was eliminated in the first round of voting, said Sunday's votes was "the eighth time that defeat strikes the Le Pen name" but added that it is "not inevitable" that nationalists lose every election.
"Two major blocs are organizing, the radical left and the center, and the nationalist bloc must also unite," he said. "Our responsibility is immense. It is indispensable. It is our duty."
In the run-up to the election, Zemmour called for a ban on "foreign" first names such as Mohammed, denounced LGBT "propaganda," railed against the immigration of Muslim Africans, and said Islam doesn't share France's core values.
Who voted for Macron?
Supporters of left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon were seen as potential kingmakers ahead of Macron and Le Pen’s run-off elections.
In the second round of voting, close to 42% of Melenchon’s voter base moved to Macron’s camp, with 17% voting for Le Pen, according to exit polls run by Ipsos and Sopra Steria. A significant 41% chose to abstain or turn to blank ballots to voice their disappointment.
Voters in the 18-24 and 70+ age groups voted overwhelmingly for the pro-Europe candidate Macron.
However, a large majority of unemployed voters as well as those from households with a net monthly household income of less than €1,250 gravitated towards Le Pen and her platform that promised them more money.
German leaders look to positive future with Macron
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was looking forward to continuing to work with Macron.
The German leader went on to say that French voters sent a strong message of commitment to Europe by choosing the pro-EU Macron over nationalist Marine Le Pen.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also congratulated Macron for his reelection.
"I look forward to continuing our close and friendly cooperation with you over the next five years," said Steinmeier, who as the German head of state generally maintains a politically neutral position.
"You came into office with a clear commitment to an open world order, a vision for a strong, sovereign Europe and a firm belief in the Franco-German partnership. I am delighted that the majority of French voters support your pro-European course. Your re-election is also good news for us Germans," Steinmeier added in a statement. "Germany wants and needs a strong France. I am confident that Germany and France will cooperate closely, trustfully and successfully in the years to come."
EU welcomes Macron's reelection
DW correspondent Teri Schultz in Brussels said Macron's win is being seen as a good result for the European Union, particularly due to the war in Ukraine.
"With Marine Le Pen being a close ally of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, [a Le Pen win] would have thrown the unified response of the European Union and NATO into disarray," Schultz said. "It is necessary that the EU's sanctions regime remains strong, there's another set of sanctions under discussion now, and there can't be any wavering from France."
United Europe 'biggest winner' in French election, German minister says
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said a united Europe was the biggest winner after President Emmanuel Macron won France's presidential election.
"This choice was a directional choice. It was about fundamental questions of values. The French have chosen #Macro," he wrote on Twitter. "This makes the united Europe the biggest winner of this election. Vive la France, vive l'Europe."
Congratulations roll in for Macron
President of the European Council Charles Michel congratulated President Macron on his victory after exit polls confirmed his reelection.
Michel highlighted the importance of having a Europe-friendly figure at the helm of France as the bloc dealt with several challenges.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen echoed Michel's stand, highlighting "excellent cooperation" between France and the bloc.
Several European leaders took to social media to congratulate Macron on his reelection, including Italy's Mario Draghi, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen, Czech Republic's Petr Fiala.
Lithuanian leader Gitanas Nauseda sent congratulations as did Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Croatia’s Andrej Plenkovic and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also took to Twitter to hail his victory as a win for Europe.
Huge pro-Macron party at Champs de Mars
Reporting from an open-air event for Macron in front of the Eiffel Tower, DW correspondent Lisa Louis said the result "has just turned into a huge party. People are so relieved as polls had suggested the result could be a lot closer."
Asked what would be Macron's next big challenge, she said the centrist politician has acknowledged that he has to adapt his policy proposals, particularly around raising the pension age, which is unpopular with voters.
"The challenge for him will be to show that he is not so market-oriented, and also show that he is someone who can communicate with people and get away from his image of a rather lofty, arrogant president."
Le Pen: 'I'm going to continue to work for France'
In a speech to her supporters in Paris, Le Pen said she had "no hard feelings" over the defeat.
"We have been buried a million times already and our adversaries want us to disappear. But I still have hope … that French citizens do not trust their government and those are feelings that I share."
The far-right leader warned that Macron's next term was likely to show as "much contempt and brutality" for the ordinary French voter as his previous term.
"I'm going to continue to work for France and French citizens with the dedication that you know that I am capable of," Le Pen said.
The 53-year-old added that she would "carry on" her political career and vowing that she would "never abandon" the French.
Macron's work starts now, minister says
French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said Macron's "clear victory" was an important win against the far-right.
"This is a clear victory, the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a president has been re-elected when he also has a majority in parliament," Beaune said. "It's important, it's very important, because this was a political combat, a political combat against the far right."
Cheers and boos erupt across France
Supporters of French President Emmanuel Macron erupted in cheers and chants of "five more years" when exit polls showed he won reelection on Sunday.
"People are dancing, people are so relieved given the result," DW correspondent Lisa Lewis said from the Champs de Mars, where Macron is scheduled to address the public.
DW correspondent Barbara Wesel said boos echoed in the Le Pen campaign headquarters following the announcement of the election's results.
Asked whether it was the political end of Marine Le Pen, Wesel said the party will have to assess her party's position following the vote.
"In March she said in an interview that this was her last attempt [at president]. But in the last weeks, while her luck was changing, and polls were rising, she rolled that back and left it open," Wesel said. "There is no natural successor for her in the party, it really is a one-woman show. The party will need some time to figure out what comes next."
Macron wins presidential election, exit polls show
French voters have reelected Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential election, according to exit polls.
A pro-European Union centrist, Macron is the first incumbent president to win reelection in two decades.
Macron won by a comfortable margin, taking 58.8% of the vote ahead of 41.2% for Marine Le Pen.
Macron supporters on edge in Paris
As voters in France and observers across Europe and the world wait for results from exit polls to show who will win the French presidential election, DW correspondent Lisa Louis says the mood in left-leaning Paris is anxious.
"You can clearly sense the tense expectation. It does not look like a done deal," she said, adding that Macron supporters seemed nervous. "It might well go down to the wire here in France."
DW correspondent Barbara Wesel pointed out that Marine Le Pen appeared to have gained ground against Macron since their last presidential duel in 2017. In that election, she won 33.9% of the vote compared to the more than 40% polls show her winning this year.
Le Pen hit on French voters' fears of inflation and rising prices and told people she will keep money in their pockets, Wesel said.
"Experts have been laughing about that saying she must have a magic money trees," Wesel said. "But there are many voters who buy into this."
Paris voters don't want Le Pen in Elysee Palace
Reporting from Paris, DW correspondent Lisa Louis said voters she talked to stressed that they wanted to block Le Pen from getting to power.
"I'm not a fan of Macron but I think it's the only democratic option," one voter told DW.
Some in Paris said they believe that Macron will have to adapt his program during his second term in office to appeal to left-leaning voters following a surprisingly good showing from far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who finished third in the first round of voting.
"Polls are not predicting that [Le Pen] will win this election, but her share of the vote could be a lot higher than five years ago," Louis said. "That means that Macron really needs to do something to bring this country back together to satisfy those voters who only vote for him today to prevent Marine Le Pen from getting into power."
Voter abstention nears record high
Voter turnout for the presidential run-off stood at 63.2% by 5 p.m. local time, according to France’s interior ministry. The figure is more than 2% below the numbers recorded at the same time in the 2017 presidential election.
Abstention in the second round was reported to reach 28%, according to several estimates, up 1.7 percentage points compared to the first round (26.31%). This is only second to the record high registered in 1969 (31.3%).
The latest figures were also two percentage points below the turnout recorded in the first round of voting on April 10.
Macron and Le Pen victory plans — if they win
Regardless of whether he wins his bid for reelection, Emmanuel Macron will address the public in Paris with a speech from the Champs de Mars, near the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
For her part, Marine Le Pen has planned an automobile convoy, including the 13 campaign buses with her face on them, through the streets of the French capital. The motorcade is expected to pass major Parisian sites, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Bastille, the Place de la Republique and finally the Place de la Concorde.
Former candidate Lasalle publicly abstains
Former presidential candidate Jean Lassalle abstained from voting at a polling station in Lourdios-Ichère on Sunday. Lassalle, who had won 3.13% of the vote in the first round on April 10, finished in seventh place at the time.
The Résistons! candidate stood in front of the ballot box and made the gesture of voting before slipping the white ballot in his pocket and declaring himself an "abstentionist".
Lasalle had earlier announced that he would vote blank in the second round of elections. This comes as experts project a large number of people could choose to send in a blank vote or not vote at all.
Macron casts ballot with wife Brigitte
French President Emmanuel Macron cast his ballot in the northern French town of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage accompanied by his wife, France's first lady Brigitte Macron.
Hundreds waited outside the polling station while the two cast their votes. After the pair emerged, Macron shook hands with onlookers, signed autographs and posed for pictures with members of the public.
Turnout by midday slightly higher than in first round: Interior Ministry
More than a quarter of eligible voters in France had cast their ballot by 12 o'clock local time (1000 GMT/UTC), the Interior Ministry said.
It put the turnout at 26.41%, compared with 25.48% by midday in the first round on April 10. The figure is, however, two percentage points lower than that from the same time in the second round of presidential elections in 2017.
Several surveys have indicated that as many as one in four voters might abstain from voting.
Among the voters was far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who cast her ballot in a polling booth in the northern city of Henin-Beaumont in the Pas-de-Calais department.
Upset victory by Le Pen possible: DW correspondent
Marine Le Pen could secure a victory in Sunday's election, with the result still unpredictable, DW correspondent Sonia Phalnikar has said.
"She's managed to run a slick, grassroots campaign; she's managed to detoxify her party's radical image; it's no longer taboo to vote for the far right," she said.
Phalnikar also said that the fact that the election was taking place during the spring holidays in France could impact turnout.
Hear what else she had to say here:
Knife attack on priest in Nice church
A priest has been attacked with a knife in a church in the southern French city of Nice while celebrating Mass, officials say.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter that the priest's life was not in danger and that police have arrested the attacker. A nun and a bystander were also reportedly injured in the attack.
In a separate tweet, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker was mentally unstable.
Media reported that the suspect, said to be a 31-year-old French national with no previous police record, told police he had wanted to murder President Emmanual Macron but decided to carry out the church attack instead.
In October 2020, three people died in a knife attack at another church in the city. That attack was attributed by French authorities to "Islamic terrorism."
People with COVID allowed at polling stations
France does not allow mail-in voting over fears of fraud. Despite the country facing over 80,000 confirmed coronavirus infections per day, the authorities have allowed people who suffer from COVID-19 to vote at polling stations. Such voters are strongly encouraged to wear a mask.
People who are not able to go to the polls can authorize someone else to deliver their vote, but this process requires the voter to fill in a form ahead of the election date and bring it to the police station.
Many voters expected to hand in blank ballots
France is gearing up to choose between President Emmanuel Macron and far-right opponent Marine Le Pen in the country's presidential runoff after a bitterly contested and polarizing election campaign.
Incumbent Macron is in the pole position in the final vote on Sunday, with all opinion polls indicating a win for the 44-year-old pro-European centrist.
There are projections of a possibly record-high number of people who will either cast a blank vote or not vote at all.
Stark choice between Macron and Le Pen
As war batters Europe's east, foreign policy is one of the key issues in the elections along with concerns over inflation in the EU's second-largest economy.
Macron took power with a victory over Le Pen in 2017 but is now struggling to shake his image of an out-of-touch elitist.
The so-called yellow-vest movement in 2018 was triggered by his business-friendly policies and tax cuts for the wealthy.
Meanwhile, Le Pen from the far-right National Rally party has campaigned on a hard line on immigration and upholding traditional French identity, as well as helping struggling households.
But Le Pen has a history of supporting Vladimir Putin and opposing the EU. While she has tried to moderate her stances ahead of the latest vote, she has also pledged to take France out of NATO's integrated command and work on a rapprochement with Russia as soon as the Ukraine war is over.
Newspapers call on readers to vote for Macron
Several French media outlets urged voters to reelect Macron in the second round of the presidential election on Sunday.
Daily newspaper Le Parisien questioned whether, with the war in Ukraine, it was "appropriate to vote for a populist candidate who would, by her will to break with the past, add to this great crisis."
Meanwhile, Conservative dailies Le Monde and Le Figaro warned against voter complacency amid Macron's lead in the polls.
"There is only one way to help prevent the candidate of a far-right party, Marine Le Pen, from coming to power on Sunday: vote for her opponent Emmanuel Macron," Le Monde said in its editorial.
"Neither abstaining nor staying away will be useful in any way to save our country from the worst," the paper said.
dvv/dj (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)