Emmanuel Macron, who won the French elections on May 8, will take office as France’s next president on May 14, current President Francois Hollande announced on Monday. This follows a significant victory won by the centrist candidate over his opponent Marine Le Pen in a battle for the country’s leadership.
Mr. Macron did not make a statement following his victory, however his attention will already have turned to the choice of a prime minister and to the legislative elections of June 11 and 18, during which all 577 seats in the National Assembly, the lower, more powerful house of the French parliament, will be up for grabs.
His immediate task would be to name a prime minister and select his cabinet. But if Mr. Macron’s party does not win enough seats in the legislative elections, the Assembly could essentially veto the appointment, forcing him to select another prime minster.
France’s two main parties – the Socialists and the Republicans – hope to reassert their presence in the legislative elections as does the right-wing National Front, led by Ms. Le Pen. The far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon also hopes to do well.
In summary, the parliamentary elections may end in a five-party affair, reflecting the electorate’s fragmentation and a disillusionment in mainstream parties.
Centrist member of the European Parliament, and supporter of Mr. Macron, Sylvie Goulard, told CNews Channel on Monday that Mr. Macron would go to Berlin for his first trip outside France, but added that it is possible that he might first visit French troops posted abroad.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany congratulated Mr. Macron on his “spectacular” victory.
“He carries the hopes of millions of French people, and of many people in Germany and the whole of Europe,” Mrs Merkel said at a news conference. “He ran a courageous pro-European campaign, stands for openness to the world and is committed decisively to a social market economy.”
Privately, Mr. Hollande has complained that he was betrayed by Mr. Macron, his onetime protege, but displayed no signs of bitterness on Monday.
Mr. Macron stepped down as economy minister in August to prepare for a run for president. In December, Mr. Hollande, whose popularity plummeted during his five-year term, said he decided to not to seek re-election.
“It is true that he followed me for many years, but afterward he freed himself,” Mr Hollande said of Mr Macron on Monday. “He wanted to propose a project to the French. It is up to him now, strengthened by the experience he has acquired with me, to continue his march. I wish him every success.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin joined a chorus of world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, who congratulated Mr. Macron. This came amidst reports that agents linked to Russia had tampered with the Macron campaign, just as they allegedly hacked the Democratic Party and the campaign of Hillary Clinton in the United States last year.
Mr. Macron’s campaign said in a statement on Friday evening that his party had been the target of a “massive and coordinated attack”, following a trove of stolen campaign documents and emails being published online.
In spite of the incident, Mr. Macron won approximately 66% of the votes on Monday.