Victory of 39-year-old political novice over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen gives shot in the arm to pro-EU establishment
PARIS— Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France Sunday in a watershed victory that hands the political newcomer a strong mandate to overhaul France’s economy and stem a tide of nationalism sweeping the European Union.
Some 64.6% of voters cast ballots for Mr. Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker who has vowed to undertake contentious labor reforms in France as part of a push for greater economic convergence among the EU’s fractious member states, according to preliminary results.
Marine Le Pen, who ran on a plan to pull the country out of the euro and close its borders to migrants, took 35.4%. She conceded minutes after early projections were announced.
Mr. Macron will become the youngest president in French history at a time when France and the EU, the 60-year political project it helped found, face major challenges.
Nearly a decade of lost economic growth for many EU countries has fueled the rise of Ms. Le Pen and other nationalists across the Continent, emboldened by the British vote to leave the EU, or Brexit, and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.
“I know the divisions in our nation, which led some to vote for extremist parties. I respect them,” Mr. Macron said in a somber address after the victory. “I will work to recreate the link between Europe and its peoples.”