Macron favourite in opinion polls as France elects new president

In 2014, the National Front won 11 towns in municipal elections, and her party performed better than any in France in elections for the European Parliament, where she co-presides over a far-right group.

Marine Le Pen, his far-right opponent in the presidential run-off, quickly conceded defeat to the 39-year-old Macron after voters rejected her "French-first" nationalism by a large margin.

In a victory party on Sunday evening, Macron walked on to the stage to the strains of "Ode to Joy", the anthem of the EU.

The president of the European Commission congratulated Macron on Twitter. President-elect Macron also endeavours to lead reform of the European Union by giving the Eurozone a separate budget, finance minister and parliamentary group of the MEPs from the 19 countries that use the Euro.

"With a new party, he doesn't have a party machine, he doesn't have any party funding yet, and he has a mountain to climb in selecting 577 candidates to challenge sitting parliamentarians in the National Assembly", said Francoise Boucek, a French-born political expert at Queen Mary University of London. Austria's presidential election previous year took three rounds but ultimately resulted in pro-Europe Green candidate Alexander Van den Bellen being elected.

Whoever wins will spell a new chapter in French politics.

Turkey plays key role in Belt and Road Initiative: Erdogan
All feed a fundamental yearning among ordinary Chinese: to see their country's prestige and status rise. China has released a series of English language propaganda videos aimed at young children.

In an early plea for unity, Macron reached out to Le Pen's supporters after a vicious election campaign that exposed deep economic and social divisions, as well as tensions provoked by identity and immigration. But, she promised to continue efforts to get voters to fight globalization and an open immigration policy.

That lack of support presaged a hard road ahead as Macron tries to build a legislative majority to push through his program.

For him, the comparison with the 2002 election is invalid because "Jean-Marie Le Pen was so demonised that the shock of his arrival in the second round produced a counter-shock" which was reflected in the ballot boxes while the arrival of Marine le Pen in the second round of this election was announced long ago.

Le Pen, who came third in the 2012 presidential election, has spent years planting a grassroots structure for her party. During the campaign she stepped down as party leader in an effort to increase her appeal. Without that, Le Pen could be hard-pressed to be more than a disruptive force instead of changing the nation's course. French officials said 4 million people submitted blank votes.

Although Macron has won a big victory, he still faces critics both inside and outside the country.

French Communist Party national secretary Pierre Laurent has declared that "a broad national, equitable and representative agreement, with a common banner that unites us all - France Unbowed, the Communist Party, Ensemble (Together), the Left Front - is necessary".

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