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Centrist Emmanuel Macron becomes France's youngest president

08 Mai 2017

Macron and his wife have publicly described how their unusual romance started _ when he was a student at the high school where she was teaching in Amiens in northern France.

Former investment banker Emmanuel Macron is on his way to winning a landslide over anti-immigration populist Marine Le Pen. Brigitte Macron, 24 years his senior, is his closest adviser, supporting him and helping prepare his speeches.

"Macron's election offers stability to Europe's single market, and strengthens the EU's position in the upcoming Brexit negotiations", Margaret Yang of CMC Markets said in a commentary. The crisis point for the presidential aspirant will come after his likely victory because parliamentary elections are due in a few months and his party is not expected to win a majority, probably forcing him to rely on the centre-right.

Speaking to supporters shortly after the result was announced, Le Pen conceded defeat but said her National Front party would transform itself to become the main opposition to a Macron presidency.

The perpetrators of the hacking attack remain unknown and it's unclear whether the document dump would dent Macron's large poll lead over Le Pen going into the vote.

The victory of socio liberal Macron as new leader in the Elysee Presidential Palace, who won with 66.06 per cent of the votes over the right-wing Marine Le Pen, has given momentum to the Tokyo Stock Exchange after it was closed for three festive days in the Asian country.

Macron has also said he is determined to develop European defence by coordinating operations and industrial programmes in this area.

"Highlighting the importance of French-German relations, she added that "(we) hope that the election goes as we would like that the cooperation of Germany and France in this context is of decisive significance".

Le Pen, who has tapped into working-class anger at the loss of jobs and once-secure futures, called him the face of "the world of finance, " the candidate of "the caviar left". I want it to be one of hope and renewed confidence, " Macron said.

Macron is staunchly pro-EU but said he wants reforms to make the grouping more democratic and has warned that continuing business as usual with the European Union will trigger a Frexit, or a French exit similar to Britain's.

En Marche! said the documents released online only showed the normal functioning of a presidential campaign, but authentic documents had been mixed on social media with "false documents" to sow "doubt and misinformation". Her deputy said this new force would not be called "National Front".

- In Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the far-right Freedom Party, said Le Pen deserves "respect. There needs to be as many as possible of us in the national assembly".

Despite her loss, Le Pen's advancement to the presidential runoff for the first time marked a breakthrough for the 48-year-old and underscored a growing acceptance of her anti-immigration, France-first nationalism.

France was the most important electoral test of 2017 in Europe.

Macron also got lucky in the campaign.

The candidates' polar-opposite visions presented the 47 million registered voters with the starkest possible choice. Macron has also called for greater shared budgeting and investment between European Union members.

Macron has promised a France that would stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin but that also would seek to work with Putin on fighting the Islamic State group, whose extremists have claimed multiple attacks in France since 2015. Some 50,000 soldiers and police officers have been deployed near polling stations and other sites around France for Sunday's election. "He is taking charge of a nation deeply divided, much like the United States, Britain and other major democracies, with many people feeling marginalized by globalization, economic stagnation, an unresponsive government, unemployment, faceless terrorism and a tide of immigrants".