France Election 2022: Emmanuel Macron wins second term, defeats Marine Le Pentext_fields
Paris: In what is being viewed as a relief for France's allies and the US-led defence alliance NATO, Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected for a second term as the country's president, convincingly defeating his rival Marine Le Pen on Sunday.
Macron won in the second round of the presidential election with 58.55 percent of the votes, while his rival, far-right presidential candidate, leader of the National Rally party Marine Le Pen got 41.45 percent.
Macron is the first French president to win a second term in two decades, but Le Pen's result also marks the closest the far-right has ever come to taking power in France and has revealed a deeply divided nation.
The 44-year-old president faces a litany of challenges in his second term, starting with parliamentary elections in June, where keeping a majority will be critical to ensuring he can realise his ambitions to reform France.
The outcome was expected to be confirmed by official results overnight with the final figures due on Monday.
In a victory speech on the Champ de Mars in central Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, Macron vowed to respond to the anger of voters who backed his far-right rival, saying his new term would not continue unchanged from the last five years.
"An answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right. It will be my responsibility and that of those around me," he told thousands of cheering supporters.
He also pledged a "renewed method" to govern France, adding that this "new era" would not be one of "continuity with the last term which is now ending".
High on his to-do list is pension reform, including a raising of the French retirement age which Macron has argued is essential for the budget but is likely to run into strong opposition and protests.
In a combative speech to supporters in Paris in which she accepted the result but showed no sign of quitting politics, Le Pen, 53, said she would "never abandon" the French and was already preparing for the June legislative elections.
"The result represents a brilliant victory," she said to cheers.
The result is narrower than the second-round clash in 2017, when the same two candidates met in the run-off and Macron polled over 66 percent of the vote.
For Le Pen, her third defeat in presidential polls will be a bitter pill to swallow after she ploughed years of effort into making herself electable and distancing her party from the legacy of its founder, her father Jean-Marie Le Pen.