With a broad smile, Le Pen stood before an adoring crowd, said her National Front party will represent “the great alternative” to the French people and pledged to open a “much-needed” debate on globalization.
Both the establishment party candidates, Hamon and Fillon, have encouraged their supporters to vote for Macron – in order to defeat Le Pen. Declaring “the left is not dead!” he urged supporters to back Macron.
NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley joins us now from Paris. Eleanor, you were in Macron headquarters when the first projections came in.
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: That’s right, Ray.
Backers of the far-left showman Jean-Luc Melenchon were also disappointed that not he, but Le Pen, will challenge Macron now for the presidency.
This was a disappointing election for the established French political parties. There is no other choice than to vote against the far right. But I think what it tells us is that people are ready to sweep away the old and try the new.
As US commentator Nate Silver notes, the French runoff is very different from either Trump’s US victory, or the UK Brexit win.
Klaus Gieger, political commentator at Germany’s leading newspaper Die Welt, said Le Pen’s campaign will trigger a breakdown in bloc. If she had won, or the race had been closer, markets would likely have had a negative reaction.
BEARDSLEY: Yes, they’re separated by two points.
Though there are four main contenders in the election, a total of 11 candidates are taking part, most in single digits.
With two anti-globalisation candidates whose policies could break up the European Union among the four front-runners, the vote is of major significance to the worldwide political status quo and to investment markets. But this doesn’t take away the feeling that the far-right got its biggest score ever in a presidential election. “I am the candidate of the French people”. Jean-Marie Le Pen made it through to the final two run-off in 2002 with 16.86% of the vote, and was eventually crushed by Jacques Chirac. Reuters reports that “Macron favors gradual deregulation measures that will be welcomed by global financial markets, while Le Pen wants to ditch the euro currency and possibly pull out of the European Union”.
“From today I want to build a majority for a government and for a new transformation”.
The other elected contender for the run-off, Le Pen, launched a diatribe against the policies of Macron during her victory speech, warning that Macron’s deregulation policies would lead to unjust global competition against France’s business interests, mass immigration and free movement of terrorists.
“Either we continue to disintegrate without any borders, without any controls, unfair worldwide competition, mass immigration and the free circulation of terrorists, or you choose France with borders”, she added.
Speaking from the Elysee palace, Mr Hollande said Ms Le Pen’s platform of pulling out of the euro would devastate the country’s economy and threaten French liberty.
Emmanuel Macron: France’s Next President? She told supporters her first move as president would be to impose a temporary ban on legal immigration to France.
BEARDSLEY: Absolutely never. It’s astounding.
Emmanuel Macron, 39, started his own movement En Marche! just over a year ago. He says he’s not left or right but progressive. She has also vowed to take France out of the EU.
SUAREZ: That’s NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley reporting from Paris.