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Leader of 'En Marche !' Emmanuel Macron adresses suporters after winning the French Presidential Election, at The Louvre on May 7, 2017 in Paris, France. (David Ramos/Getty Images)

Not-so-close call

Macron defeats Le Pen in contentious French presidential race

May 8, 2017

Emmanuel Macron was elected the next president of France Sunday, soundly defeating Marine Le Pen, who stood to become the country’s first female president.

It was one of France’s most contentious presidential elections, with Macron’s centrist platform competing against Le Pen’s far-right agenda. The politicians presented staunchly opposing visions for France, as The Associated Press explains. Macron supported keeping the country’s borders open, while Le Pen was vociferously anti-immigration; he promised to maintain free trade, while she opposed economic globalization; he wanted to stay in the EU, she wanted to leave it.

Le Pen had hoped that she would ride into the French presidency on a crest of populism — much as Donald Trump did in the United States. Ultimately, however, the election was not even close. With 90 percent of votes counted, Macron held 64 percent of the total, and Le Pen had 36 percent.

Le Pen may not have won the election, but she has grown her National Front party to unprecedented levels of popularity. Le Pen said that she won 11 million votes, according to the AP, which is more than the party has ever garnered during an election.

During his victory speech, Macron said that voters were driven to the National Front — a party with a deep, thorny history of racism and anti-Semitism — out of “anger, disarray.”

“I will do everything in the five years to come so there is no more reason to vote for the extremes,” he said.

Read more at the The Associated Press.


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