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Emmanuel Macron is the winner of France's presidential election

Emmanuel Macron has won France's presidential election, defeating far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a runoff vote on Sunday. 

Macron received 58.55 percent of the vote on Sunday, making him the first French president to be re-elected in 20 years. He and Le Pen progressed to the runoff after coming first and second, respectively, out of 12 candidates in the first round on April 10. While the election was a rerun of the 2017 French presidential runoff, most of Europe watched with trepidation. A Le Pen president would have drastically altered France's relationship with the European Union and the West, at a time when the EU and its allies rely on Paris to take the lead in facing some of the world's most pressing crises, most notably the conflict in Ukraine.

And, while Macron's pitch to voters of a globalized, economically liberal France at the helm of a robust European Union triumphed against Le Pen's vision of a radical inward shift, the 41.45 percent of people who voted for her brought the French far right closer to the president than ever before. 

The success of Marine Le Pen is the latest sign that the French population is turning to radical candidates to express their displeasure with the status quo. The far-left and far-right candidates received more than 57 percent of the votes cast in the first round. Many people who were dissatisfied with the final two choices stayed at home. According to the French Interior Ministry, the runoff's voter turnout was 28 percent, the highest for a runoff since 2002.

When the news was announced, Macron's supporters gathered on the Champs de Mars in central Paris, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, erupted in raucous applause. The celebration was far more subdued than following Macron's triumph in 2017, however he did walk to deliver his address to the European hymn, sometimes known as the "Ode to Joy."

Macron promised to be the "president for each and every one of you" in his victory address. He then thanked his supporters and recognized that, like in 2017, many voted for him solely to keep the extreme right at bay.

Macron stated that his second term will not be a continuation of his first, and he promised to solve all of France's current issues.

He also directly addressed individuals who supported Le Pen, stating that as president, he must find a solution to "the rage and conflicts" that drove them to vote for the far right.

"It will be my obligation, as well as the responsibility of everyone around me," Macron said.

Within a half-hour of the initial projection, Le Pen delivered a concession speech to her supporters assembled at a pavilion in western Paris' Bois de Boulogne.

"A huge wind of freedom could have blown over our country," Le Pen remarked, "but the vote box decided otherwise."

Nonetheless, Le Pen admitted that the far right had never fared so well in a presidential election. She described the outcome as "historic" and a "shining win," putting her political party, National Rally, "in a fantastic position" for the June legislative elections.

"The game isn't finished yet," she explained.

Macron and Le Pen have spent the previous two weeks touring the country in an attempt to sway individuals who did not vote for them in the first round. Despite a mixed record on internal matters, like as his handling of the yellow vest rallies and the Covid-19 outbreak, Macron needed to persuade voters to endorse him again.

Le Pen's campaign attempted to capitalize on public outrage over rising living costs by focusing heavily on assisting people in dealing with inflation and rising energy prices – a major concern for the French electorate – rather than relying on the anti-Islamist, anti-immigration, and Euroskeptic positions that dominated her first two presidential bids in 2017 and 2012.

She positioned herself as a more mainstream and less radical candidate, despite the fact that most of her platform remained unchanged from five years before. Her manifesto's two goals were "stopping uncontrolled immigration" and "eradicating Islamist ideology," and analysts said many of her policies on the EU would have put France at war with the bloc.

Though Le Pen had dropped some of her more controversial policy plans, such as abandoning the European Union and the euro, her views on immigration and Islam in France remained unchanged (she wants to make it illegal for women to wear headscarves in public).

"I believe the headscarf is a uniform imposed by Islamists," she stated during Wednesday's one and only presidential discussion. "I believe that the vast majority of women who wear one are unable to do otherwise in reality, even if they do not dare to say it."

However, Vladimir Putin was perhaps her most serious political liability. Prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Le Pen was a prominent supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, even visiting him during her 2017 campaign. Her party also borrowed money from a Russian-Czech bank several years ago, which it is currently repaying.

Despite her subsequent condemnation of Moscow's incursion, Macron criticized Le Pen during the discussion for her prior statements. He contended that she could not be trusted to represent France in negotiations with the Kremlin.

"When you talk to Russia, you're talking to your banker. That is the issue "During the debate, Macron stated. "You are unable to properly defend France's interests on this subject because your interests are related to those close to Russian power."

Le Pen said that her party was compelled to seek funds elsewhere since no French bank would approve the loan request, but the justification appeared to fall flat.

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