Paris, Apr 24: French President Emmanuel Macron won a second term by defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen in presidential elections.
French polling agencies are projecting that Macron would be the first French president in 20 years to win a second term, since Jacques Chirac in 2002. But he would face a divided nation and a battle to keep his parliamentary majority in legislative elections in June.
Centrist Macron was set to win 57.0-58.5 percent of the vote compared with Le Pen on 41.5-43.0 percent, according to projections by polling firms for French television channels based on a sample of the vote count.
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.
Five years ago, Macron won a sweeping victory to become France’s youngest president at 39.
Macron has vowed to change the French economy to make it more independent while still protecting social benefits. He said he will also keep pushing for a more powerful Europe.
His first term was rocked by the yellow vest protests against social injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. It notably forced Macron to delay a key pension reform, which he said he would re-launch soon after reelection, to gradually raise France’s minimum retirement age from 62 to 65. He says that’s the only way to keep benefits flowing to retirees.
with PTI inputs