Emmanuel Macron has won five more years as French president after a convincing victory over rival Marine Le Pen, who nevertheless secured the far right’s highest share of the vote yet.
He won by 58.55 per cent to 41.45 per cent, a greater margin than expected.
The centrist leader told jubilant supporters at the foot of the Eiffel Tower that now the election was over he would be a “president for all”.
Despite her loss, Le Pen said her vote share still marked a victory.
The ideas her National Rally represented, she told her supporters, had reached new heights. But far-right rival Eric Zemmour pointed out that she had failed just like her father who preceded her: “It’s the eighth time the Le Pen name has been hit by defeat.”
“An answer must be found to the anger and disagreements that led many of our compatriots to vote for the extreme right,” Macron said in his victory speech on Sunday night. “It will be my responsibility and that of those around me.”
Macron’s victory was welcomed by relieved European leaders, who feared a far-right candidate offering a series of anti-EU policies. “Together we will move France and Europe forward,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Ukraine’s Volodymr Zelensky, who had called on French voters to back Macron, congratulated his “true friend” and said he looked forward to a strong and united Europe.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also welcomed his victory.
Turnout was just under 72 per cent, the lowest in a presidential run-off since 1969. Adding more than three million spoilt or blank votes, that accounted for more than one in three voters. Macron said his government would have to “answer their choice to refuse to choose”. (BBC)