PARIS — Emmanuel Macron, the not-yet-40 former economy minister and banker, carried the French presidential election on Sunday, beating Marine Le Pen by a wider-than-expected margin of 66 to 34.
Macron struck a solemn tone, saying he wouldn’t ignore the mixed message from Sunday. Turnout was the lowest for a presidential vote since the 1969 election. Millions spoiled their ballots, unable to support either candidate. Yet Macron was also resolute, reiterating his commitment to “defending Europe” and saying he “wouldn’t be stopped by any obstacle” to his plan to reform France.
This French election, more than any in recent memory, resonated throughout Europe and across the Atlantic. In the wake of Brexit and Donald Trump’s unexpected victory last year, it offered a stark choice between a liberal, establishment vision for France and Europe personified by Macron and a nationalist, protectionist one offered by Le Pen.
Here are five takeaways from the young French politician’s victory:
1. European, ‘globalist’ France wins
The rise of Le Pen’s National Front and France’s persistent economic and industrial problems made this campaign a referendum on Europe and globalization. Macron repeated that the big divide was between those who see an open economy as an opportunity and those who, like Le Pen, seem to fear the challenges it offers. For months he was the only candidate who got cheers for Europe at his rallies, insisting it was the “solution” to France’s and others’ problems, not the problem itself.
Even though many of the left-wing voters who went for him in the runoff did so mostly to keep Le Pen out of the Elysée palace, the magnitude of his victory showed that Europe, the euro single currency and a liberal economy (in short globalization) are — contrary to stereotype — electoral winners, even or especially in France. Even Le Pen, who had long called for France to drop the euro and possibly leave the EU, changed her position on the single currency in the last days of the campaign to allay voters fears.
Read more at Politico.