The man who married his female school teacher and 25 years older than him has become the next French President elect.
Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker, handily won France’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen after voters firmly rejected her far-right message and backed his call for centrist change, according to partial returns.
Mr. Macron, 39, who has never held elected office, will become the youngest president in the 59-year history of France’s Fifth Republic after leading an improbable campaign that swept aside France’s establishment political parties.
The election was watched around the world for magnifying many of the broader tensions rippling through Western democracies, including the United States: populist anger at the political mainstream, economic insecurity among middle-class voters and rising resentment toward immigrants.
Mr. Macron’s victory offered significant relief to the European Union, which Ms. Le Pen threatened to leave. His platform to loosen labor rules, make France more competitive globally and deepen ties with the European Union was also likely to reassure a global financial market jittery at the prospect of a Le Pen victory.
Her loss provided further signs that the populist wave that swept Britain out of the European Union and Donald J. Trump into the White House may have crested in Europe, for now.
“It is a great honor and a great responsibility,” Mr. Macron said, using a video link to address thousands of flag-waving supporters who gathered on the plaza of the Louvre, where he held his victory celebration. “A new page is opening.”
With 50 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Macron had 62 percent of the vote, compared with 38 percent for Ms. Le Pen, according to the official count from the Interior Ministry.
The outcome was nonetheless a watershed for Ms. Le Pen’s party, the far-right National Front, giving it new legitimacy even as the results showed that the party remains anathema to much of the French electorate for its history of anti Semitism racism and Nazi nostalgia.
The runoff election was groundbreaking for being a choice between two political outsiders, as well as for its rancor and an apparent attempt to sway the vote with the large-scale hacking of Macron campaign emails, similar to the attack directed at the last year’s election in the United States.
But although Mr. Macron won by a wide margin, the share of votes that went to Ms. Le Pen and the high abstention rate — the worst turnout since 1969 — indicated the challenges he faces in building a base of support for his program.
Ms. Le Pen conceded the election not long after polls closed in France, saying voters had chosen “continuity,” denying Mr. Macron his outsider status and linking him to the departing Socialist government, in which he served as economy minister.